uncertain

[uhn-sur-tn]
adjective
1.
not definitely ascertainable or fixed, as in time of occurrence, number, dimensions, or quality.
2.
not confident, assured, or free from hesitancy: an uncertain smile.
3.
not clearly or precisely determined; indefinite; unknown: a manuscript of uncertain origin.
4.
vague; indistinct; not perfectly apprehended: an abstruse novel with uncertain themes.
5.
subject to change; variable; capricious; unstable: a person of uncertain opinions.
6.
ambiguous; unreliable; undependable: Her loyalties are uncertain.
7.
dependent on chance or unpredictable factors; doubtful; of unforeseeable outcome or effect.
8.
unsteady or flickering, as light; of changing intensity or quality.

Origin:
1250–1300; Middle English; see un-1, certain

uncertainly, adverb
uncertainness, noun


1. unsure, unpredictable. Uncertain, insecure, precarious imply a lack of predictability. That which is uncertain is doubtful or problematical; it often involves danger through an inability to predict or to place confidence in the unknown: The time of his arrival is uncertain. That which is insecure is not firm, stable, reliable, or safe, and hence is likely to give way, fail, or be overcome: an insecure foundation, footing, protection. Precarious suggests great susceptibility to failure, or exposure to imminent danger: a precarious means of existence. 3. unsettled, undetermined. 8. irregular.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
uncertain (ʌnˈsɜːtən)
 
adj (when postpositive, often foll by of)
1.  not able to be accurately known or predicted: the issue is uncertain
2.  not sure or confident (about): a man of uncertain opinion
3.  not precisely determined, established, or decided: uncertain plans
4.  not to be depended upon; unreliable: an uncertain vote
5.  liable to variation; changeable: the weather is uncertain
6.  in no uncertain terms
 a.  unambiguously
 b.  forcefully
 
un'certainly
 
adv
 
un'certainness
 
n

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

uncertain
c.1300, "of indeterminate time or occurrence," from un- (1) "not" + certain (adj.). Meaning "not fully confident" is recorded from late 14c. (implied in uncertainty).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

uncertain

see in no uncertain terms.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
It is uncertain how soon or how fast the oil will start gurgling again.
Yet decision makers insist that they bring clarity when information is scarce
  and outcomes uncertain.
Also known as pie cherry, this species is of uncertain origin.
That, it turns out, is a scientifically uncertain and even controversial
  question.
Idioms & Phrases
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