noun, plural un·cer·tain·ties for 2.

the state of being uncertain; doubt; hesitancy: His uncertainty gave impetus to his inquiry.
an instance of uncertainty, doubt, etc.
unpredictability; indeterminacy; indefiniteness.

Origin of uncertainty

1350–1400; Middle English uncerteynte; see un-1, certainty

Synonyms for uncertainty

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for uncertainty

Contemporary Examples of uncertainty

Historical Examples of uncertainty

  • The Street came decorously, albeit with a degree of uncertainty as to supper.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • The child did not know what to say, but it was not natural to her to remain long in uncertainty.

    Rico and Wiseli

    Johanna Spyri

  • Then there had been the misery of terrible suspense, a wait of uncertainty.


    W. A. Fraser

  • This uncertainty led to a most unfortunate precipitation on his part.

  • There was something of uncertainty and remonstrance in her look; something that was not all satisfaction.

    Little Dorrit

    Charles Dickens

British Dictionary definitions for uncertainty


noun plural -ties

Also called: uncertainness the state or condition of being uncertain
an uncertain matter, contingency, etc
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 uncertainty

late 14c., from uncertain + -ty.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper