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

Definition of uncertainty

1 : the quality or state of being uncertain : doubt
2 : something that is uncertain

Choose the Right Synonym for uncertainty

uncertainty, doubt, dubiety, skepticism, suspicion, mistrust mean lack of sureness about someone or something. uncertainty may range from a falling short of certainty to an almost complete lack of conviction or knowledge especially about an outcome or result. assumed the role of manager without hesitation or uncertainty doubt suggests both uncertainty and inability to make a decision. plagued by doubts as to what to do dubiety stresses a wavering between conclusions. felt some dubiety about its practicality skepticism implies unwillingness to believe without conclusive evidence. an economic forecast greeted with skepticism suspicion stresses lack of faith in the truth, reality, fairness, or reliability of something or someone. regarded the stranger with suspicion mistrust implies a genuine doubt based upon suspicion. had a great mistrust of doctors

Examples of uncertainty in a Sentence

There is some uncertainty about the company's future. He accepted the position without hesitation or uncertainty.
Recent Examples on the Web The MassBenchmarks outlook for the rest of the year calls for slow growth in the Massachusetts economy, but uncertainty remains high. BostonGlobe.com, 28 July 2022 Yet, if, when and for how long he'll be suspended continues to cast that uncertainty across everything. Chris Easterling, USA TODAY, 28 July 2022 So that was the only day -- one day out of the entire offseason -- where there’s little uncertainty. Doug Lesmerises, cleveland, 27 July 2022 Moral and psychological uncertainty are revealed through Antoinette’s unintended romantic quest. Armond White, National Review, 27 July 2022 With the Federal Reserve set to deliver another big rate rise Wednesday, considerable uncertainty still surrounds the final destination for the central bank’s campaign of monetary policy tightening. Michael S. Derby, WSJ, 27 July 2022 There was no announcement over the public address system, which added more terrifying uncertainty, Mojica said. Anthony Cusumano, NBC News, 25 July 2022 Someone who can relate: Turner, who faced similar uncertainty a year ago before being sent to Los Angeles along with Max Scherzer in the biggest trade of last summer’s deadline. Jack Harris, Los Angeles Times, 25 July 2022 This is the perfect time to explicitly address the societal outcry for kinder and more humane communities birthing out from vulnerabilities due to uncertainty that is leading to anxieties for many. Rachel Ooi, Forbes, 25 July 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of uncertainty

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for uncertainty

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near uncertainty



uncertainty principle

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Statistics for uncertainty

Last Updated

30 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Uncertainty.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/uncertainty. Accessed 10 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for uncertainty


un·​cer·​tain·​ty | \ ˌən-ˈsər-tᵊn-tē How to pronounce uncertainty (audio) \
plural uncertainties

Kids Definition of uncertainty

1 : lack of certainty : doubt Uncertainty made the days of waiting longer …— William Armstrong, Sounder
2 : something that is doubtful or unknown Life is full of uncertainties.

More from Merriam-Webster on uncertainty

Nglish: Translation of uncertainty for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of uncertainty for Arabic Speakers


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