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  1. not definite; without fixed or specified limit; unlimited: an indefinite number.
  2. not clearly defined or determined; not precise or exact: an indefinite boundary; an indefinite date in the future.
  3. Grammar.
    1. indefinite article.
    2. indefinite pronoun.
  4. Botany.
    1. very numerous or not easily counted, as stamens.
    2. (of an inflorescence) indeterminate.
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Origin of indefinite

From the Latin word indēfīnītus, dating back to 1520–30. See in-3, definite
Related formsin·def·i·nite·ly, adverbin·def·i·nite·ness, noun


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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for indefinite

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • She was beginning to inspire him with an indefinite uneasiness.

    The Secret Agent

    Joseph Conrad

  • After an indefinite pause, she asked, "Shall you be going to St. Johnswort?"

    Questionable Shapes

    William Dean Howells

  • I attempted to pacify her by an indefinite reply to her inquiries, but in vain.

    Theresa Marchmont

    Mrs Charles Gore

  • The Grand Plan was ambitious, indefinite, but they could not give it up.

    Four Girls and a Compact

    Annie Hamilton Donnell

  • It put a name to that gnawing, indefinite feeling she had been too intent to own.

    The Innocent Adventuress

    Mary Hastings Bradley

British Dictionary definitions for indefinite


  1. not certain or determined; unsettled
  2. without exact limits; indeterminatean indefinite number
  3. vague, evasive, or unclear
  4. Also: indeterminate botany
    1. too numerous to countindefinite stamens
    2. capable of continued growth at the tip of the stem, which does not terminate in a floweran indefinite inflorescence
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Derived Formsindefiniteness, 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

Word Origin and History for indefinite


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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper