Definition of uncertain in US English:

uncertain

adjective

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

    ‘an uncertain future’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘This all led to uncivilised evening drinks at The Local, before wobbling home in an uncertain manner.’
    • ‘However, the future still looks uncertain as he has no money for higher education.’
    • ‘Due to a family bereavement it is uncertain if this slot will go ahead.’
    • ‘The takeover inevitably led to uncertain times for everyone at the firm.’
    • ‘Life is more uncertain, so the task of launching an adolescent into the world has become more complicated.’
    • ‘It's human nature that in uncertain times we become more conservative and less speculative.’
    • ‘It is uncertain whether the officer will be based at the contact point.’
    • ‘The link between violent music and violent behaviour is an uncertain one.’
    • ‘They were released on bail following a public outcry but still faced an uncertain future.’
    • ‘The future of the pier has been uncertain for years and one unnamed firm is currently in talks with Blue Lark.’
    • ‘The future of this business and the fate of its 240 employees remain uncertain.’
    • ‘We live in uncertain times when change has never been so rapid or unpredictable.’
    • ‘It was the Society's view that banks would simply not deal with firms whose future was uncertain.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘What lies ahead is completely uncertain, but also, it seems, full of promise.’
    • ‘Whether his death was caused by heart attack or assassination is still uncertain.’
    • ‘Serious business will be on hold, political time and capital tied up, and the ground rules uncertain.’
    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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Frances was uncertain how younger students would view her, but soon made her mark.’
      • ‘He had friends down there but, after the flight, he is uncertain of their fate.’
      • ‘If people are uncertain as to who they are uniting against, they seem even less sure of what they are standing up for.’
      • ‘I am uncertain how, in those circumstances, she can reserve her position in relation to the point.’
      • ‘There were lots of times when people were very uncertain about the situation there.’
      • ‘The only times anyone asked Ilse what she wanted was when she was uncertain.’
      • ‘If you are uncertain about location, a relocation agent can help narrow down your field of choice.’
      • ‘However they were uncertain as to whether it was the address of one of the suspects or a red herring.’
      • ‘If you are uncertain about what options you should take think about speaking to a financial adviser.’
      • ‘Yet, as to the details of our life, or as to where my husband is now, I am uncertain.’
      • ‘Because of this historians are uncertain about the final toll of victims.’
      • ‘Even the Western powers appear uncertain about whether it is a good idea.’
      • ‘He was still uncertain about the whole thing but I got him interested enough to come along.’
      • ‘Today they are genuinely uncertain of their own greatness, or of how to exercise their power.’
      • ‘O'Donnell was left uncertain as to what direction his career should pursue.’
      • ‘Dennis said he was uncertain whether the kidnapping was a case of mistaken identity.’
      • ‘We are uncertain whether the random allocation was adequately concealed in most of the studies.’
      • ‘As in domestic politics, when you are uncertain about the substance, emphasise the style.’
      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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘But we all know the results: they have all eventually said in no uncertain terms that the job is too much.’
      • ‘That's how we started, in fact, making speeches laying out what we wanted 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.’
      • ‘Disneyland management was contacted and told in no uncertain terms.’
      • ‘That has meant telling trade groups and industry lobbies in no uncertain terms not to hire Democrats.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Many of us, myself among them, questioned the referee's parentage and eyesight in no uncertain terms.’
      • ‘He was told in no uncertain terms that the document was privileged.’

Pronunciation

uncertain

/ˌənˈsərtn//ˌənˈsərtn/