uncertain

adjective
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

Spirit’s work with OFOC highlights how the future of Brexit is still somewhat uncertain, even after years of debate following the vote. Rachel Janfaza, Teen Vogue, "With Brexit Looming, Young Activists Are Still Fighting to Stay in the European Union," 13 Mar. 2019 Tuesday evening’s defeat—again—for Theresa May’s Brexit deal leaves the terms of Britain’s departure from the European Union on March 29 as uncertain as any time since the June 2016 referendum. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Barreling Toward Brexit," 12 Mar. 2019 Preparing America’s youth for an increasingly uncertain future has never been an easy job for the millions of teachers in this country. Kim Kelly, Teen Vogue, "Education Workers on Campuses Around the Country Are Demanding Better Labor Conditions," 10 Jan. 2019 Kerry, 75, clearly has experience in diplomacy that could be relevant in an uncertain world where China and Russia are angling to overtake America economically, militarily, or both. Celeste Katz, Glamour, "Who’s In and Who’s Out of the 2020 Presidential Race—So Far," 3 Jan. 2019 Right now, when our world feels a little bit uncertain, hygge is a way to practice self-care that feels sincere. Anne Roderique-jones, SELF, "I Practiced Hygge and It's Kind of the Best Thing Ever," 25 Dec. 2018 The dynasty of the Kardashian Christmas card looked uncertain up until this point. Lucy Wood, Marie Claire, "Khloe Kardashian Confirms There IS a Kardashian Christmas Card Coming This Year," 24 Dec. 2018 Many of the bridesmaids looked a little moody or uncertain in Eugenie and Jack's official photos, with even seasoned professional Princess Charlotte struggling to smile. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Princess Eugenie & Jack Brookbank's Official Portraits Compared to Meghan Markle & Prince Harry's," 13 Oct. 2018 For some, not knowing your history can make the future seem even more uncertain. Fiona Tapp, SELF, "What It’s Like to Fill in the Gaps in Your Health History When You’re Adopted," 18 Jan. 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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Last Updated

17 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for uncertain

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

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More Definitions for uncertain

uncertain

adjective

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

uncertain

adjective
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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of or relating to a parable or parabola

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