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[in-def-uh-nit] /ɪnˈdɛf ə nɪt/
not definite; without fixed or specified limit; unlimited:
an indefinite number.
not clearly defined or determined; not precise or exact:
an indefinite boundary; an indefinite date in the future.
  1. very numerous or not easily counted, as stamens.
  2. (of an inflorescence) indeterminate.
Origin of indefinite
From the Latin word indēfīnītus, dating back to 1520-30. See in-3, definite
Related forms
indefinitely, adverb
indefiniteness, noun
1. unspecified; indeterminate. 2. imprecise, inexact, indistinct, confusing, vague, uncertain.
1, 2. determinate. 2. clear, specific. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for indefiniteness
Historical Examples
  • For, with all her wealth and power, Joyce often felt this "indefiniteness," as she called it.

    Joyce's Investments Fannie E. Newberry
  • And, as another of the elements of this creation of beauty, there must be indefiniteness. '

  • Meanwhile, Dana Charteris was in danger—a danger that was more frightful because of the indefiniteness of its character.

    Caravans By Night Harry Hervey
  • He could not be moulded to a clever womans liking, for all his indefiniteness.

    The Dull Miss Archinard Anne Douglas Sedgwick
  • Yet all this harshness and indefiniteness were nothing compared with his chief anxiety.

    The Possessed Fyodor Dostoevsky
  • In the hands of Dryden the Elves of Chaucer lose their indefiniteness.

    The Fairy Mythology Thomas Keightley
  • In this matter there must be no indefiniteness, no chance for misunderstanding.

    The Leopard Woman Stewart Edward White
  • Its indefiniteness shown by the serpent symbol, and the cross.

    The Religious Sentiment Daniel G. Brinton
  • When any of the four limits of indefiniteness is infinite the oscillation is infinite in the sense explained in 7.

  • A constant source of misunderstanding and mistake is indefiniteness of meaning.

    How We Think John Dewey
British Dictionary definitions for indefiniteness


not certain or determined; unsettled
without exact limits; indeterminate: an indefinite number
vague, evasive, or unclear
(botany) Also indeterminate
  1. too numerous to count: indefinite stamens
  2. capable of continued growth at the tip of the stem, which does not terminate in a flower: an indefinite inflorescence
Derived Forms
indefiniteness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for indefiniteness



early 15c. (implied in indefinitely), from Latin indefinitus, from in- "not, opposite of, without" (see in- (1)) + definitus, past participle of definire (see define).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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