View synonyms for indeterminate


[ in-di-tur-muh-nit ]


  1. not determinate; not precisely fixed in extent; indefinite; uncertain.
  2. not clear; vague.

    Synonyms: ambiguous

  3. not established.
  4. not settled or decided.
  5. Mathematics.
    1. (of a quantity) undefined, as 0/0.
    2. (of an equation) able to be satisfied by more than one value for each unknown.
  6. Botany. (of an inflorescence) having the axis or axes not ending in a flower or bud, thus allowing further elongation.


  1. Mathematics. something whose value is not specified: used especially in abstract algebra; a variable.


/ ˌɪndɪˈtɜːmɪnɪt /


  1. uncertain in extent, amount, or nature
  2. not definite; inconclusive

    an indeterminate reply

  3. unable to be predicted, calculated, or deduced
  4. physics (of an effect) not obeying the law of causality; noncausal
  5. maths
    1. having no numerical meaning, as 0.00 or 0/0
    2. (of an equation) having more than one variable and an unlimited number of solutions
  6. botany another word for indefinite
  7. (of a structure, framework, etc) comprising forces that cannot be fully analysed, esp by vector analysis


/ ĭn′dĭ-tûrmə-nĭt /

  1. 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.

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Derived Forms

  • ˌindeˈterminately, adverb
  • ˌindeˈterminacy, noun

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Other Words From

  • inde·termi·nate·ly adverb
  • inde·termi·nate·ness noun

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Word History and Origins

Origin of indeterminate1

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English word from Late Latin word indēterminātus. See in- 3, determinate

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Example Sentences

The indeterminate category of sudden liver failure has been known for some time, Peters says, and that subset of cases has similarities to the hepatitis under investigation.

An estimated 500 to 600 cases occur each year in the United States, and around 30 percent of those are “indeterminate,” meaning a cause isn’t found, according to the North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition.

A legend in Los Angeles cycling circles, Shirtless Keith is a burly man of indeterminate age who rides around hilly Palos Verdes wearing work boots, denim cutoffs, and no shirt.

They would get a negative result or indeterminate result from tests that detect N protein antibodies.

Counting down the moments they have left with Abdullah, always an indeterminate amount.

Some gospel music, like Blind Willie Johnson's, chronicles an indeterminate journey to an unknown destination.

First, Troy depicts the cemetery as having indeterminate and ever-shifting borders.

Before that its landscape had been indeterminate—there were even strips where the Kat goes to sea.

Precisely who would bear the brunt of $400 billion in proposed cuts in military spending was left indeterminate.

I had wondered at that indeterminate quotient in my sums, where the same figure came, always the same, running on and on.

Full of whims and fancies, unstable, indeterminate, he was swayed by every passing emotion and influence.

Like the Board of Guardians, it is a most useful body; but its influence upon village life is indirect and indeterminate.

She found the word indicating to whom degrees should be granted indeterminate, with no character of sex attached to it.

Matter in a more general sense is the indeterminate, the indefinite and the potential.


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More About Indeterminate

What does indeterminate mean?

Indeterminate describes something that is not precisely fixed or is uncertain, as in Sonya felt really frustrated with her boss’s indeterminate standards for evaluating her work.

Indeterminate also describes something that is vague or unclear, as in The indeterminate costs for replacing the school led voters to choose repairing the school instead.

Indeterminate is also used to describe something not established or settled, as in After surgery, Nikki will have to spend an indeterminate amount of time resting and healing.

Example: Carly’s lab results were indeterminate, so the doctor wants to do more tests.

Where does indeterminate come from?

The first records of the term indeterminate come from around the 1300s. It comes from the Late Latin term indēterminātus.

In botany, indeterminate means “having some type of appendage that does not grow a flower or bud on the end.” This allows the plant to instead grow longer. Often, indeterminate stems or growths are pruned to channel more of the plant’s energy into developing flowers or fruit.

In mathematics, an indeterminate is something that has no specified value. It is typically used as a variable in algebra and is often represented as an unsolvable problem, such as a number divided by zero or the square root of a negative number. Indeterminate variables are often represented with letters or symbols.

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What are some other forms related to indeterminate?

  • indeterminately (adverb)
  • indeterminateness (noun)
  • indeterminacy (noun)

What are some synonyms for indeterminate?

What are some words that share a root or word element with indeterminate

What are some words that often get used in discussing indeterminate?

How is indeterminate used in real life?

Indeterminate is most often used in scientific or formal discussions.

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Try using indeterminate!

Which of the following is NOT a synonym for indeterminate?

A. imprecise
C. defined
D. nebulous




indeterminacy principleindeterminate equation