- not determinate; not precisely fixed in extent; indefinite; uncertain.
- not clear; vague.
- not established.
- not settled or decided.
- (of a quantity) undefined, as 0/0.
- (of an equation) able to be satisfied by more than one value for each unknown.
- Botany. (of an inflorescence) having the axis or axes not ending in a flower or bud, thus allowing further elongation.
- Mathematics. something whose value is not specified: used especially in abstract algebra; a variable.
Origin of indeterminate
SynonymsSee more synonyms for indeterminate on Thesaurus.com
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for indeterminate
Counting down the moments they have left with Abdullah, always an indeterminate amount.Al Jazeera Journo Abdullah El-Shamy Goes On Hunger Strike In Egyptian Jail
March 29, 2014
Some gospel music, like Blind Willie Johnson's, chronicles an indeterminate journey to an unknown destination.Leaps of Faith: Wrestling With Uncertainty and Finding Grace Through the Music of Hiss Golden Messenger
March 2, 2014
Before that its landscape had been indeterminate—there were even strips where the Kat goes to sea.Monument Valley From the Eyes of a Krazy Kat and John Ford Fan
February 3, 2012
She herself was in a curious, indeterminate attitude as far as concerned the law.Within the Law
After an indeterminate interval, he was awakened by someone entering the room.The Cruise of the Dry Dock
T. S. Stribling
The station, like the scenery, like Helen's letters, struck an indeterminate note.Howards End
E. M. Forster
He was lithe, of indeterminate age, but with a look of great determination.Suite Mentale
Gordon Randall Garrett
I poised for an indeterminate instant, and then I took my orbit.Wandl the Invader
Raymond King Cummings
- uncertain in extent, amount, or nature
- not definite; inconclusivean indeterminate reply
- unable to be predicted, calculated, or deduced
- physics (of an effect) not obeying the law of causality; noncausal
- having no numerical meaning, as 0.00 or 0/0
- (of an equation) having more than one variable and an unlimited number of solutions
- botany another word for indefinite (def. 4)
- (of a structure, framework, etc) comprising forces that cannot be fully analysed, esp by vector analysis
Word Origin and History for indeterminate
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
- Continuing to grow at the apical meristem or the terminal bud indefinitely, allowing for the development of an ever-increasing number of plant organs such as leaves, stems, or flowers to the side.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.