adjective in·de·ter·mi·nate \ ˌin-di-ˈtərm-nət , -ˈtər-mə- \
|Updated on: 18 Jul 2018

Definition of indeterminate

1 a : not definitely or precisely determined or fixed : vague
b : not known in advance
c : not leading to a definite end or result
2 : having an infinite number of solutions
  • a system of indeterminate equations
3 : being one of the seven undefined mathematical expressions {latex}\frac{0}{0}, \frac{\infty}{\infty}, \infty \cdot 0, 1^{\infty}, 0^{0}, \infty^{0}, \infty - \infty{/latex}
4 : characterized by sequential flowering from the lateral or basal buds to the central or uppermost buds; also : characterized by growth in which the main stem continues to elongate indefinitely without being limited by a terminal inflorescence — compare determinate 4






play \ˌin-di-ˌtər-mə-ˈnā-shən\ noun

Examples of indeterminate in a Sentence

  1. an indeterminate number of people

Recent Examples of indeterminate from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'indeterminate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Did You Know?

When you determine something, you decide on what it is, which means you put limits or boundaries on its identity. So something indeterminate lacks identifying limits. A mutt is usually the product of indeterminate breeding, since at least the father's identity is generally a mystery. A painting of indeterminate origins is normally less valued than one with the painter's name on it. And if negotiations are left in an indeterminate state, nothing has been decided.

Origin and Etymology of indeterminate

Middle English indeterminat, from Late Latin indeterminatus, from Latin in- + determinatus, past participle of determinare to determine

INDETERMINATE Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of indeterminate for English Language Learners

  • : not able to be stated or described in an exact way

Medical Dictionary


adjective in·de·ter·mi·nate \ ˌin-di-ˈtərm-(ə-)nət \

medical Definition of indeterminate

: relating to, being, or undergoing indeterminate cleavage
  • an indeterminate egg

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