[ noun ser-tif-i-kit; verb ser-tif-i-keyt ]
/ noun sərˈtɪf ɪ kɪt; verb sərˈtɪf ɪˌkeɪt /


a document serving as evidence or as written testimony, as of status, qualifications, privileges, or the truth of something.
a document attesting to the fact that a person has completed an educational course, issued either by an institution not authorized to grant diplomas, or to a student not qualifying for a diploma.
Law. a statement, written and signed, which is by law made evidence of the truth of the facts stated, for all or for certain purposes.

verb (used with object), cer·tif·i·cat·ed, cer·tif·i·cat·ing.

to furnish with or authorize by a certificate.
to issue an official certificate attesting to the training, aptitude, and qualification of: to certificate a teacher.

Origin of certificate

1375–1425; late Middle English certificat < Medieval Latin certificātum, noun use of neuter of certificātus certified (past participle of certificāre), equivalent to certific- (see certify) + -ātus -ate1
Related formscer·tif·i·ca·to·ry [ser-tif-uh-ki-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee] /sərˈtɪf ə kɪˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i/, adjectivenon·cer·tif·i·cat·ed, adjectiveun·cer·tif·i·cat·ed, adjective
Can be confusedcertificate degree diploma license
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for certificate

British Dictionary definitions for certificate


noun (səˈtɪfɪkɪt)

an official document attesting the truth of the facts stated, as of birth, marital status, death, health, completion of an academic course, ability to practise a profession, etc

verb (səˈtɪfɪˌkeɪt)

(tr) to authorize by or present with an official document
Derived Formscertificatory, adjective

Word Origin for certificate

C15: from Old French certificat, from certifier certify
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for certificate



early 15c., "action of certifying," from French certificat, from Medieval Latin certificatum "thing certified," noun use of neuter past participle of certificare (see certify). Of documents, from mid-15c., especially a document which attests to someone's authorization to practice or do something (1540s).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper