8 Words That Are Older Than You Think


[in-def-uh-nit] /ɪnˈdɛf ə nɪt/
not definite; without fixed or specified limit; unlimited:
an indefinite number.
not clearly defined or determined; not precise or exact:
an indefinite boundary; an indefinite date in the future.
  1. very numerous or not easily counted, as stamens.
  2. (of an inflorescence) indeterminate.
1520-30; < Latin indēfīnītus. See in-3, definite
Related forms
indefinitely, adverb
indefiniteness, noun
1. unspecified; indeterminate. 2. imprecise, inexact, indistinct, confusing, vague, uncertain.
1, 2. determinate. 2. clear, specific. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for indefinite
  • It has also proposed a new statute authorizing the indefinite detention without trial of terrorism suspects.
  • And with indefinite and growing boundaries which deny others the right to exist.
  • Project this into the indefinite future and economic nirvana beckons.
  • And he promised an end to rendition and indefinite detention.
  • The game service is on indefinite hold, but the keyboard has finally surfaced.
  • But late last month officials announced yet another delay-an indefinite one.
  • Yes, the scientific interests have fuelled our curiosity and it will continue to do so for an indefinite period.
  • In any case, an indefinite ban on cloning research could have worse consequences than careful regulation.
  • His music's not to my taste, but he's so fluid and indefinite and polyvalent that he's kind of interesting.
  • As an indefinite noun-adjective clause, it could be translated as blessed day.
British Dictionary definitions for indefinite


not certain or determined; unsettled
without exact limits; indeterminate: an indefinite number
vague, evasive, or unclear
(botany) Also indeterminate
  1. too numerous to count: indefinite stamens
  2. capable of continued growth at the tip of the stem, which does not terminate in a flower: an indefinite inflorescence
Derived Forms
indefiniteness, noun
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
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Word Origin and History for indefinite

early 15c. (implied in indefinitely), from Latin indefinitus, from in- "not, opposite of, without" (see in- (1)) + definitus, past participle of definire (see define).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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