surely

surely
adverb
1 (sentence adverb) used to show that you think something must be true, especially when people seem to be disagreeing with you: You must have heard about the riots surely? | There must surely be some explanation. | Surely we can't just stand back and let this happen?
2 surely not spoken used to show you cannot believe that something is true: “The chairman's just handed in his resignation.” “Surely not.”
3 old-fashioned certainly: Such sinners will surely be punished.
4 AmE old-fashioned used to say `yes' to someone or to express agreement with them
USAGE NOTE: SURELY WORD CHOICE: surely, certainly, sure, definitely, of course, naturally, obviously Surely is usually used to show that you believe something, and would be surprised if others did not agree: Surely they must realize that (=I think they should realize that, and don't you agree?)| They've gone home, surely (=you seem to be still expecting to see them, but I'm sure they have gone).| He surely doesn't expect me to pay him immediately (=I hope he doesn't expect this and I don't think he ought to). A sentence with surely, especially near the beginning, usually sounds like a question, even if nobody actually answers, and could easily be followed by a question tag: Surely they know, don't they? Certainly is four times as frequent as surely in spoken English and shows that you strongly believe something, in spite of what others think: He certainly doesn't expect me to pay him immediately (=I know he doesn't expect the money now).| She was amazed and I was certainly surprised too (NOT surely because it would be strange to expect others to know how you feel). Certainly often suggests that there may also be a slight doubt or condition, even if it is not actually followed by but: It's certainly very beautiful, but it's far too expensive. | ”He's a brilliant student, isn't he?” “Well, he certainly works very hard” (=but I do not agree that he is brilliant). In informal spoken American English sure is often used, especially just before the verb, with a similar meaning to certainly, but is often stronger and may show annoyance or impatience: They sure are late (=they're late and isn't that surprising/annoying?). Definitely shows that you believe something so strongly that there is no doubt or question about it at all: He's definitely the best player in the team. Of course, naturally, and obviously show that you not only think something is true but also that it is not surprising: They broke down on the way so of course they were late. | Naturally my mother loved me. | A vacation in Switzerland would obviously be expensive. For information about using these words in answer to questions see of course (WORD CHOICE).

Longman dictionary of contemporary English. 2004.

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  • Surely — Sure ly, adv. 1. In a sure or certain manner; certainly; infallibly; undoubtedly; assuredly. [1913 Webster] In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. Gen. ii. 17. [1913 Webster] He that created something out of nothing, surely… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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  • surely — index admittedly, fairly (clearly) Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • surely — 14c., from SURE (Cf. sure) ( ) + LY (Cf. ly) (2) …   Etymology dictionary

  • surely — [adv] without doubt absolutely, admittedly, assuredly, beyond doubt, beyond shadow of doubt*, certainly, clearly, come what may*, conclusively, decidedly, definitely, distinctly, doubtlessly, evidently, explicitly, fixedly, for certain, for real …   New thesaurus

  • surely — ► ADVERB 1) it must be true that. 2) certainly. 3) with assurance. 4) N. Amer. informal of course …   English terms dictionary

  • surely — sure|ly W2S1 [ˈʃo:li US ˈʃurli] adv 1.) [sentence adverb] used to show that you think something must be true, especially when people seem to be disagreeing with you ▪ You must have heard about the riots, surely? ▪ There must surely be some… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • surely — [[t]ʃʊ͟ə(r)li[/t]] ♦♦♦ 1) ADV: ADV with cl/group (emphasis) You use surely to emphasize that you think something should be true, and you would be surprised if it was not true. You re an intelligent woman, surely you realize by now that I m… …   English dictionary

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  • surely — sure|ly [ ʃurli ] adverb ** 1. ) without any doubt: That is surely the stupidest thing I have ever done. 2. ) used for showing that you believe something is very likely: You surely realized we were in when you saw the lights on? Surely she didn t …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

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