When you ensure that something will happen, you guarantee it. All that homework will ensure that you have no time for fun this afternoon!

Ensure comes from the Old French en- "make" plus seur "sure," and that is exactly what it means today - "to make sure or certain, to guarantee." If you ensure success or someone's safety, you are guaranteeing it. Make sure you can really come through with something before you ensure it!

Definitions of ensure
  1. verb
    make certain of
    “This nest egg will ensure a nice retirement for us”
    synonyms: assure, guarantee, insure, secure
    guarantee, vouch
    give surety or assume responsibility
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    make certain of the failure or destruction of
    assure the success of
  2. verb
    be careful or certain to do something; make certain of something
    synonyms: ascertain, assure, check, control, insure, see, see to it
    check, check off, mark, mark off, tick, tick off
    put a check mark on or near or next to
    verify by consulting a source or authority
    ascertain, check, determine, find out, learn, see, watch
    find out, learn, or determine with certainty, usually by making an inquiry or other effort
    control, verify
    check or regulate (a scientific experiment) by conducting a parallel experiment or comparing with another standard
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    proof, proofread
    read for errors
    verify by using a duplicate register for comparison
    check once more to be absolutely sure
    check out conflicting sources; crosscheck facts, for example
    make sure of
    ask someone for identification to determine whether he or she is old enough to consume liquor
    pick out random samples for examination in order to ensure high quality
    maintain a check on; especially by patrolling
    type of:
    confirm the truth of
Commonly confused words

assure / ensure / insure

Although these three often show up at the same party, giving hugs, they’re not the same, thank you very much. To assure is to tell someone everything’s ok, to ensure is to make certain, and to insure is to protect financially. Have it straight now? Are you sure?

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