un·​cer·​tain ˌən-ˈsər-tᵊn How to pronounce uncertain (audio)
: not known beyond doubt : dubious
an uncertain claim
: not having certain knowledge : doubtful
remains uncertain about her plans
: not clearly identified or defined
a fire of uncertain origin
: not constant : variable, fitful
an uncertain breeze
: indefinite, indeterminate
the time of departure is uncertain
: not certain to occur : problematical
his success was uncertain
: not reliable : untrustworthy
an uncertain ally
uncertainly adverb
uncertainness noun

Examples of uncertain in a Sentence

The time of departure is still uncertain. We are still uncertain of the truth. She remains uncertain about her plans. I'm uncertain about how to respond. The cause of the fire is uncertain. He has an uncertain temper. They face a financially uncertain future. See More
Recent Examples on the Web Emphasize that the future is uncertain and interdependence is key, encouraging everyone to contribute their thoughts and voices. Andrew Sever, Forbes, 15 Feb. 2024 But after dozens of human rights, digital rights and tech industry groups opposed the bill, citing concerns that state enforcers could use its provisions to target young LGBT users, its future has been uncertain. Cristiano Lima-Strong, Washington Post, 15 Feb. 2024 But after 11 previous on-screen breakups, the stability of the couple's connection is uncertain — especially as pressure to make it down the aisle looms. Kelly Wynne, Peoplemag, 14 Feb. 2024 In especially uncertain moments such as these, when her own patients are consumed with anxiety, Bufka recommends compartmentalization — separating different parts of one’s mental and emotional experience. Deborah Netburn, Los Angeles Times, 14 Feb. 2024 As of 2022, some 100 million people around the world have fled war, persecution, and instability in their home countries for uncertain futures in others. Suzy Hansen, The Atlantic, 13 Feb. 2024 Until recently, the fate of the print was uncertain. Julia Binswanger, Smithsonian Magazine, 9 Feb. 2024 Michi stood, as if uncertain whether to grant B.T. his space and leave him alone or to sit beside him and explain more. Elliot Ackerman, WIRED, 9 Feb. 2024 The proposal in Florida qualified for the ballot, but its fate is uncertain pending a court review. Michael Smolens, San Diego Union-Tribune, 31 Jan. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'uncertain.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

Time Traveler
The first known use of uncertain was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near uncertain

Cite this Entry

“Uncertain.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/uncertain. Accessed 20 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


un·​cer·​tain ˌən-ˈsərt-ᵊn How to pronounce uncertain (audio)
: not definite or fixed
an uncertain quantity
: not sure
uncertain of the truth
: not known for sure
an uncertain claim
: likely to change : not dependable
uncertain weather
uncertainly adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on uncertain

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