un·​cer·​tain | \ ˌən-ˈsər-tᵊn How to pronounce uncertain (audio) \

Definition of uncertain

1a : not known beyond doubt : dubious an uncertain claim
b : not having certain knowledge : doubtful remains uncertain about her plans
c : not clearly identified or defined a fire of uncertain origin
2 : not constant : variable, fitful an uncertain breeze
3 : indefinite, indeterminate the time of departure is uncertain
4 : not certain to occur : problematical his success was uncertain
5 : not reliable : untrustworthy an uncertain ally

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Other Words from uncertain

uncertainly adverb
uncertainness \ ˌən-​ˈsər-​tᵊn-​(n)əs How to pronounce uncertainness (audio) \ 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.
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Recent Examples on the Web But many details — including who provided it and when investigators began using it — remain uncertain. Tribune News Service, oregonlive, "Georgia quizzed Puerto Rican license applicants about Puerto Rico to weed out fraud — but its test was faulty," 29 Dec. 2019 Kendricks was the only Vikings player not to practice this week, and his status for the playoffs remains uncertain. Paul Hodowanic, Twin Cities, "Vikings’ backup linebackers will need to step up against the Bears," 27 Dec. 2019 Many elements of the election remain uncertain, from the impact of the impeachment trial that is all but certain to precede the head-t0-head presidential battle, to who will be the Democratic nominee to challenge President Donald Trump. The Economist, "Buckle up for America’s ugly election and faltering economy," 25 Dec. 2019 What this means for the future of the Vavilov Ice Cap remains uncertain. Chelsea Harvey, Scientific American, "A Russian Ice Cap Is Collapsing--It Could Be a Warning," 23 Dec. 2019 Adams said that original timelines for the project remain unchanged, even if the timing of federal funding allocations remain uncertain. al, "New dredging program could be boon for Port of Mobile," 21 Dec. 2019 But the timeline of the impeachment process going forward remains uncertain. Justin L. Mack, Indianapolis Star, "Here's what Indiana's Congressional members say about how they voted on impeachment," 19 Dec. 2019 Whether this is actually achievable remains uncertain. Paula Hancocks, CNN, "What could North Korea's 'Christmas gift' to the US be?," 14 Dec. 2019 Whether the island, also known by its Maori name Whakaari, will ever host tourists again remains uncertain. Paige Fry, chicagotribune.com, "Family from Chicago listed among the missing after volcano erupts on New Zealand island," 11 Dec. 2019

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

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First Known Use of uncertain

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

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Time Traveler for uncertain

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for uncertain

Last Updated

6 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Uncertain.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/uncertain. Accessed 17 January 2020.

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More Definitions for uncertain


How to pronounce uncertain (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of uncertain

: not exactly known or decided : not definite or fixed
: not sure : having some doubt about something
: not definitely known


un·​cer·​tain | \ ˌən-ˈsər-tᵊn How to pronounce uncertain (audio) \

Kids Definition of uncertain

1 : not exactly known or decided on an uncertain amount
2 : not sure They were uncertain of the rules.
3 : not known for sure an uncertain claim
4 : likely to change : not dependable uncertain weather

Other Words from uncertain

uncertainly adverb

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Comments on uncertain

What made you want to look up uncertain? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a plan in which a last survivor takes all

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