- not definitely ascertainable or fixed, as in time of occurrence, number, dimensions, or quality.
- not confident, assured, or free from hesitancy: an uncertain smile.
- not clearly or precisely determined; indefinite; unknown: a manuscript of uncertain origin.
- vague; indistinct; not perfectly apprehended: an abstruse novel with uncertain themes.
- subject to change; variable; capricious; unstable: a person of uncertain opinions.
- ambiguous; unreliable; undependable: Her loyalties are uncertain.
- dependent on chance or unpredictable factors; doubtful; of unforeseeable outcome or effect.
- unsteady or flickering, as light; of changing intensity or quality.
Origin of uncertain
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
1. unsure, unpredictable. 3. unsettled, undetermined. 8. irregular.
1. Uncertain, insecure, precarious imply a lack of predictability. That which is uncertain is doubtful or problematical; it often involves danger through an inability to predict or to place confidence in the unknown: The time of his arrival is uncertain. That which is insecure is not firm, stable, reliable, or safe, and hence is likely to give way, fail, or be overcome: an insecure foundation, footing, protection. Precarious suggests great susceptibility to failure, or exposure to imminent danger: a precarious means of existence.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for uncertainly
And the Ukrainian army, slowly, uncertainly, but ineluctably, is closing in on this besieged ghost-town of a city.Shakeup In the Ukraine Rebel High Command
August 15, 2014
The result was an extra month of uncertainly that impeded an already volatile hiring market.Obama’s Jobs Malaise
September 2, 2011
Cyrus had withdrawn from the stove, and was feeling his chin, uncertainly.Meadow Grass
The uncertainly and mystery that enveloped Eldorado was its greatest charm.Four Girls and a Compact
Annie Hamilton Donnell
In the living-room he stood and stared about him uncertainly.The Twins of Suffering Creek
“I must go through the dining-room to get to my room,” Olive said uncertainly.Olive in Italy
The girl's voice was colorless, and she did not look at Rufus who regarded her uncertainly.In Apple-Blossom Time
Clara Louise Burnham
- not able to be accurately known or predictedthe issue is uncertain
- (when postpositive, often foll by of) not sure or confident (about)a man of uncertain opinion
- not precisely determined, established, or decideduncertain plans
- not to be depended upon; unreliablean uncertain vote
- liable to variation; changeablethe weather is uncertain
- in no uncertain terms
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
Word Origin and History for uncertainly
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Idioms and Phrases with uncertainly
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.