Definition of uncertain in US English:

uncertain

adjective

  • 1Not able to be relied on; not known or definite.

    ‘an uncertain future’
    • ‘The future of the pier has been uncertain for years and one unnamed firm is currently in talks with Blue Lark.’
    • ‘Serious business will be on hold, political time and capital tied up, and the ground rules uncertain.’
    • ‘Now the future is uncertain for the restored Victorian warehouse with floors the size of a football pitch.’
    • ‘Whether the public perceives the benefits of having a greater gender balance remains uncertain.’
    • ‘What lies ahead is completely uncertain, but also, it seems, full of promise.’
    • ‘It was the Society's view that banks would simply not deal with firms whose future was uncertain.’
    • ‘Whether his death was caused by heart attack or assassination is still uncertain.’
    • ‘This all led to uncivilised evening drinks at The Local, before wobbling home in an uncertain manner.’
    • ‘Due to a family bereavement it is uncertain if this slot will go ahead.’
    • ‘The future of this business and the fate of its 240 employees remain uncertain.’
    • ‘However, the future still looks uncertain as he has no money for higher education.’
    • ‘Life is more uncertain, so the task of launching an adolescent into the world has become more complicated.’
    • ‘We live in uncertain times when change has never been so rapid or unpredictable.’
    • ‘It is uncertain whether the officer will be based at the contact point.’
    • ‘It's human nature that in uncertain times we become more conservative and less speculative.’
    • ‘The Jubilee arouses uncertain feelings, halting thoughts, though it's in our town.’
    • ‘Many more would like to begin trading, but are confused about the best way forward or uncertain of the outcome.’
    • ‘The link between violent music and violent behaviour is an uncertain one.’
    • ‘The takeover inevitably led to uncertain times for everyone at the firm.’
    • ‘They were released on bail following a public outcry but still faced an uncertain future.’
    unknown, undetermined, unsettled, unresolved, unsure, pending, in the balance, in limbo, up in the air, debatable, open to question, in doubt
    changeable, variable, varying, irregular, fitful, unpredictable, unreliable, unsettled, unstable, erratic, fluctuating
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 (of a person) not completely confident or sure of something.
      ‘I was uncertain how to proceed’
      • ‘We are uncertain whether the random allocation was adequately concealed in most of the studies.’
      • ‘I am uncertain how, in those circumstances, she can reserve her position in relation to the point.’
      • ‘Frances was uncertain how younger students would view her, but soon made her mark.’
      • ‘As in domestic politics, when you are uncertain about the substance, emphasise the style.’
      • ‘He was still uncertain about the whole thing but I got him interested enough to come along.’
      • ‘Dennis said he was uncertain whether the kidnapping was a case of mistaken identity.’
      • ‘If you are uncertain about what options you should take think about speaking to a financial adviser.’
      • ‘Even the Western powers appear uncertain about whether it is a good idea.’
      • ‘However they were uncertain as to whether it was the address of one of the suspects or a red herring.’
      • ‘Today they are genuinely uncertain of their own greatness, or of how to exercise their power.’
      • ‘The only times anyone asked Ilse what she wanted was when she was uncertain.’
      • ‘His morose delivery makes you uncertain whether you are supposed to laugh or cry.’
      • ‘The young couple she confronted with this information today seemed bemused and uncertain how to react.’
      • ‘Yet, as to the details of our life, or as to where my husband is now, I am uncertain.’
      • ‘If you are uncertain about location, a relocation agent can help narrow down your field of choice.’
      • ‘If people are uncertain as to who they are uniting against, they seem even less sure of what they are standing up for.’
      • ‘He had friends down there but, after the flight, he is uncertain of their fate.’
      • ‘There were lots of times when people were very uncertain about the situation there.’
      • ‘O'Donnell was left uncertain as to what direction his career should pursue.’
      • ‘Because of this historians are uncertain about the final toll of victims.’
      unsure, doubtful, dubious, undecided, unresolved, indecisive, irresolute, hesitant, wavering, vacillating, oscillating, equivocating, vague, hazy, unclear, ambivalent, in two minds, on the horns of a dilemma, torn
      hesitant, hesitating, tentative, halting, faltering, unsure, unconfident, diffident, doubtful
      View synonyms

Phrases

  • in no uncertain terms

    • Clearly and forcefully.

      ‘she refused me, in no uncertain terms’
      • ‘Disneyland management was contacted and told in no uncertain terms.’
      • ‘He told me in no uncertain terms that I was third choice of three keepers, one of which was young Ally Brown, who has never played for the first team.’
      • ‘That's how we started, in fact, making speeches laying out what we wanted in no uncertain terms.’
      • ‘Many of us, myself among them, questioned the referee's parentage and eyesight in no uncertain terms.’
      • ‘Grampian Police has a booklet on how to pass its tests in which it spells out the need for police officers to be fit in no uncertain terms.’
      • ‘We like nothing better than a riled footballer suggesting in no uncertain terms exactly what he's going to do with a rival coach's words.’
      • ‘But we all know the results: they have all eventually said in no uncertain terms that the job is too much.’
      • ‘He was told in no uncertain terms that the document was privileged.’
      • ‘Has any kid ever put a gun to his head during a training session just to let him know in no uncertain terms that he isn't at all angry about anything?’
      • ‘That has meant telling trade groups and industry lobbies in no uncertain terms not to hire Democrats.’

Pronunciation

uncertain

/ˌənˈsərtn//ˌənˈsərtn/