‘Insure’ and ‘ensure’

These words have overlapping meanings to do with certainty and security.


  • To guarantee or protect (usually against risk, damage or loss) in a financial sense
  • To take out or issue an insurance policy


  • To make certain
  • To make safe or protect

In American English, insure is used instead of ensure. It is much less common to see this in British English (and probably to be avoided).


5 thoughts on “‘Insure’ and ‘ensure’

  1. Have you done bear and bare? I ask because I recently came to the painful realization that I screwed these two up in a blog post. In my defense, it was pure typo rather than not knowing the correct one to use, but the shame may be too much to bear. 😉


    • It is my understanding that in common usage ‘insure’ is used in America for both meanings. However, it is regarded as best practice by some sources to maintain a distinction (you ensure something happens but you insure a thing against financial risk). The Chicago Manual of Style has some detail on this.

      Liked by 1 person

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