un·​pre·​dict·​able | \ˌən-pri-ˈdik-tə-bəl \

Definition of unpredictable 

: not predictable: such as

a : not able to be known or declared in advance unpredictable weather

b : tending to behave in ways that cannot be predicted an unpredictable boss

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Other Words from unpredictable

unpredictably \ˌən-​pri-​ˈdik-​tə-​blē \ adverb
changes that occur unpredictably
unpredictability \ˌən-​pri-​ˌdik-​tə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē \ noun
the unpredictability of the weather

Examples of unpredictable in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

While lame-duck sessions of Congress can be unpredictable, lawmakers face one immutable deadline in the next two-month stretch: funding for parts of the government, including the Department of Homeland Security, expires at 12:01 a.m. on Dec. 8. Richard Rubin, WSJ, "Lame-Duck Congress Raises Prospect of Stalemate on Border Wall," 7 Nov. 2018 The subconscious may seem dangerous and unpredictable, but for many, lucid dreaming is actually a lot less scary than regular dreaming. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "What Is Lucid Dreaming? Your Guide to Exploring Your Subconscious," 18 Sep. 2018 To start with, John liked being unpredictable, even a little contrarian. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, "Read the Full Transcript of Barack Obama's Speech at John McCain's Funeral," 1 Sep. 2018 In a strange way, the brain is entirely unpredictable, while still, in certain ways, being predictable. Chris Lee, Ars Technica, "Oscillating brain goes regular before migraine pain hits," 15 Aug. 2018 In his lifetime, Wojnarowicz became a star, though an unconventional one, unsmooth, unpredictable, unstylish even, with his clotted paint, uncouth symbols, and jabbing ideas and words. New York Times, "He Spoke Out During the AIDS Crisis. See Why His Art Still Matters.," 12 July 2018 All this means that if your team is heading into a shootout, your best bets are to try to go first, line up your best shooters early, have them be unpredictable in their movements, and aim down the center. Umair Irfan, Vox, "World Cup shootouts: why the team that goes first usually wins," 11 July 2018 Farmers are dealing with more frequent, and unpredictable, bouts of drought and flooding. Emily Hopkins, Cincinnati.com, "Your produce is less healthy than it was 70 years ago. These farmers might change that," 4 July 2018 Stanfield, 26, has become one of the most arresting, unpredictable, and in-demand actors in Hollywood. Washington Post, "Lakeith Stanfield: An actor at home in the surreal," 3 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'unpredictable.' 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 unpredictable

1840, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

22 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for unpredictable

The first known use of unpredictable was in 1840

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More Definitions for unpredictable


un·​pre·​dict·​able | \ˌən-pri-ˈdik-tə-bəl\

Kids Definition of unpredictable

: impossible to predict The king was a completely unpredictable tyrant.— Brian Jacques, Redwall

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to enclose within walls

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