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

Other Words from uncertain

uncertainly adverb
uncertainness \ ˌən-​ˈsər-​tᵊn-​(n)əs How to pronounce uncertain (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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web In uncertain economic times, leaders feel more pressure than ever to deliver success and get the best from their employees. Jared Spataro, Fortune, 22 Sep. 2022 Fiennes has been thinking about such things, not just because of his current isolation in rural Italy, but because one of his projects in the uncertain times of COVID lockdowns was to stage T. S. Eliot’s Four Quartets. Sarah Crompton, Vogue, 20 Sep. 2022 The real magic of ritual practices, which can support us in managing anxiety in uncertain times. Laura Newberry, Los Angeles Times, 20 Sep. 2022 Corporate College, a division of Cuyahoga Community College, is launching a new online certificate program to help professionals lead their teams during uncertain times. Shirley Macfarland, cleveland, 26 Aug. 2022 Anton’s Law has ushered in uncertain times for Maryland officers concerned about whether complaints or missteps could stain their reputations, and for departments navigating the new legal requirements. Steve Thompson, Washington Post, 26 Aug. 2022 Life insurance brings certainty at uncertain times. Noel Cody, Essence, 17 Aug. 2022 Big data solutions lack the timely insights and local know-how to be trusted with decisions in uncertain times. Cenk Sidar, Forbes, 15 Aug. 2022 Berkshire Hathaway is still buying and many of the the company's diverse business lines are still thriving, even in these uncertain economic times. Paul R. La Monica, CNN, 8 Aug. 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of uncertain

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

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

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Last Updated

27 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Uncertain.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/uncertain. Accessed 1 Oct. 2022.

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More Definitions for uncertain


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

More from Merriam-Webster on uncertain

Nglish: Translation of uncertain for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of uncertain for Arabic Speakers


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