Definition of indeterminate
1a : not definitely or precisely determined or fixed : vagueb : not known in advancec : 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 : being one of the seven undefined mathematical expressions that include zero divided by zero, infinity divided by infinity, infinity multiplied by zero, one to the exponent infinity, zero to the exponent zero, infinity to the exponent zero, and infinity minus infinity
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
indeterminationplay \ˌin-di-ˌtər-mə-ˈnā-shən\ noun
Examples of indeterminate in a Sentence
an indeterminate number of people
Recent Examples of indeterminate from the Web
The show’s stars are the Warners – Wakko and Yakko and their sister, Dot – characters of an indeterminate species who cause lighthearted mischief at the Warner Bros. studios.
Across from them at a conference table sat a handsome, black-haired, jocular man of indeterminate ethnicity and age: Glenn Godfrey, Belize's former attorney general.
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
First Known Use: 1603
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 Definition of indeterminate
: relating to, being, or undergoing indeterminate cleavage an indeterminate egg
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up indeterminate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).