uncertainty

noun
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

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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

Its closure on Friday raises uncertainty and some anxiety for campers and for homelessness-services providers. Vianna Davila, The Seattle Times, "As the Alaskan Way Viaduct comes down, so does a longtime shelter for Seattle’s homeless," 13 Jan. 2019 Visualization is a great mental technique for easing uncertainty and fear about something new. SELF, "7 Tips for Anyone Who Wants to Start Working Out but Doesn't Know Where to Begin," 10 Jan. 2019 But one thing Trump and his EPA have guaranteed is a long stretch of regulatory uncertainty and legal chaos. David Roberts, Vox, "The “Trump effect” threatens the future of the Paris climate agreement," 3 Dec. 2018 Grappling with a transformative moment While vague, predicting a year of significant transformation only reflects the climate of uncertainty and possibility that’s settled over the market. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "The 10 top emerging trends that will shape real estate in 2019," 10 Oct. 2018 Left to her lonesome, the same feelings of uncertainty and unknowing that so distressed her at home become oddly liberating, bolstering her quiet curiosity and spirit of adventure. Marley Marius, Vogue, "5 Solo Trips Inspired by Female Travelers in Film," 7 Aug. 2018 The agency lowered the threshold to 85% for 2018 in a nod to uncertainty about the new law and also relaxed some requirements for quarterly payments for filers who paid in at least 85%. WSJ, "WSJ Tax Guide 2019: Withholding and Estimated Tax Payments," 15 Feb. 2019 Per The New York Times, Lanvin's new creative director has finally been named after a period of uncertainty. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Lanvin Names Bruno Sialelli as Its New Creative Director," 21 Jan. 2019 In the meantime, Venezuela is experiencing a mass exodus due to the political and economic uncertainty. Stavros Agorakis, Vox, "Vox Sentences: Venezuela’s 1 million percent price hike," 9 Nov. 2018

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.

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First Known Use of uncertainty

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

18 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for uncertainty

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

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More Definitions for uncertainty

uncertainty

noun

English Language Learners Definition of uncertainty

: the quality or state of being uncertain
: something that is doubtful or unknown : something that is uncertain

uncertainty

noun
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 H. Armstrong, Sounder
2 : something that is doubtful or unknown Life is full of uncertainties.

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