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 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.
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Recent Examples on the Web While much remains uncertain, shuttling customers once again has felt more rewarding than ever. Jessica Puckett, Condé Nast Traveler, "How Helicopter Tours Are Getting Guests Into the Sky During COVID-19," 10 Feb. 2021 Not one organization surveyed has folded, but the present remains uncertain, and at the moment the future is anything but bright. Michael Granberry, Dallas News, "‘It’s as bad as it sounds’: Pandemic cost Dallas arts $95 million in 2020," 5 Feb. 2021 The Police Department's future remains uncertain, with some council members seeking to replace it with a new office that would include police and violence prevention programs. Liz Navratil, Star Tribune, "Minneapolis has about 200 fewer police officers available to work," 4 Feb. 2021 But, again, how quickly the plan may be considered remains uncertain. Sarah Midkiff, refinery29.com, "Biden Just Signed Three Immigration Reform Bills — But Is This Enough?," 3 Feb. 2021 Exactly how much snow will stick to the ground remains uncertain. Jennifer Gray, CNN, "A 709-day snow drought will come to an end on Sunday in Washington, DC," 30 Jan. 2021 Overall, economic activity remains below its level before the pandemic, and the path ahead remains highly uncertain. New York Times, "Fed Leaves Interest Rates Near Zero as Economic Recovery Slows," 27 Jan. 2021 While the transmission of the article launches the trial, the schedule ahead remains uncertain. Mary Clare Jalonick, Anchorage Daily News, "House to send impeachment article against Trump to Senate on Monday," 22 Jan. 2021 While the transmission of the article launches the trial, the schedule ahead remains uncertain. The Associated Press, NOLA.com, "House to send Trump impeachment article to Senate on Monday: 'There will be a trial'," 22 Jan. 2021

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

23 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Uncertain.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/uncertain. Accessed 2 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for uncertain



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

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