When (approximately) was the first recorded use of "for sure" to mean "certainly"?

For example,

I wanted it more than he did, for sure.

  • Please share what your research has shown so far.
    – livresque
    Commented Sep 1, 2023 at 0:15
  • In the past decade or so, it's become 'sportsman speech' especially with non-English natives being interviewed in English. "For sure, we played better in the first half…" [I used to count how many times Sebastian Vettel said it in any given race weekend.]
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Sep 1, 2023 at 8:27

1 Answer 1


According to Etymonline the expression dates back to the late 16c.


As an affirmative meaning "yes, certainly" it dates from 1803, from Middle English meanings "firmly established; having no doubt," and phrases such as to be sure (1650s), sure enough (1540s), and for sure (1580s).

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