Definition of UNCERTAIN


Uncertain is an adjective describing a state of being unsure, hesitant, or lacking confidence in a particular situation, outcome, or decision.

Ambiguity and Doubt: The adjective uncertain conveys a sense of ambiguity and doubt, suggesting a lack of clarity, predictability, or definitiveness. Uncertainty may arise from incomplete information, conflicting evidence, or the complexity of circumstances, leading to hesitancy or indecision.

Risk and Probability: In contexts involving risk or probability, uncertain reflects the presence of unknown variables or unpredictable factors that can influence outcomes or events. Uncertainty in financial markets, scientific research, or strategic planning introduces elements of unpredictability, requiring risk assessment, mitigation strategies, and contingency planning.

Emotional and Psychological States: Beyond factual uncertainties, uncertain can also describe emotional or psychological states characterized by insecurity, apprehension, or anxiety about the future. Individuals may feel uncertain about relationships, career choices, or personal goals, grappling with self-doubt or fear of failure.

Flexibility and Adaptability: While uncertainty may evoke feelings of discomfort or vulnerability, it can also foster adaptability, resilience, and creativity. Embracing uncertainty encourages individuals to remain open-minded, flexible, and resourceful in navigating challenges, seizing opportunities, and exploring new possibilities.

Navigating Change: Uncertainty often accompanies periods of transition, change, or upheaval, whether in personal, professional, or societal contexts. Learning to cope with uncertain circumstances involves developing coping mechanisms, resilience strategies, and a growth mindset to navigate ambiguity and emerge stronger from adversity.

Decision-Making and Action: Effectively managing uncertainty requires a balance between cautious deliberation and decisive action. While it’s important to acknowledge and address uncertainties, paralysis by analysis can hinder progress. By embracing a mindset of informed risk-taking and experimentation, individuals can move forward despite uncertain conditions.

As an adjective, uncertain describes a state of ambiguity, doubt, or hesitancy characterized by a lack of clarity or predictability. Whether navigating complex decisions, emotional challenges, or dynamic environments, embracing uncertainty as an inherent aspect of life can foster resilience, adaptability, and growth.

Examples of UNCERTAIN in a sentence

  • The outcome of the experiment was uncertain, leaving researchers eager for the results.
  • She felt uncertain about her decision, unsure of which path to choose.
  • The future of the project was uncertain, pending approval from higher management.
  • The weather forecast was uncertain, with conflicting predictions from various sources.
  • He spoke with an uncertain tone, unsure of how his words would be received.
  • The political climate was uncertain, with tensions rising between neighboring countries.
  • Despite her uncertainty, she pressed forward with determination, trusting that things would work out in the end.
  • The students were uncertain about the exam format, causing anxiety and stress leading up to the test.


The term uncertain has evolved through a linguistic journey, reflecting shifts in understanding and interpretation over time.

  • Latin: The term traces back to the Latin word “incertus”, which means “not determined” or “undecided.” This Latin root emphasizes a lack of clarity or definitiveness.
  • Old French: From Latin, the term transitioned into Old French as “incertain”, maintaining its fundamental meaning of lacking certainty or being unsure. This Old French usage began to shape the term’s connotations in subsequent languages.
  • Middle English: In Middle English, the term took the form “uncertain”, retaining its essence of ambiguity or unpredictability. It became firmly established in the English language, reflecting broader shifts in medieval thought and philosophy.
  • Modern English: In modern usage, “uncertain” encompasses a range of meanings, including doubt, hesitancy, or unpredictability. It describes situations, conditions, or states of mind where clarity, confidence, or definitiveness are lacking.

From its origins in Latin uncertainty to its integration into Old French and subsequent adoption into Middle and Modern English, the term uncertain reflects humanity’s ongoing struggle to navigate ambiguity and unpredictability in the world around us.


  • Unsure
  • Doubtful
  • Indeterminate
  • Ambiguous
  • Tentative
  • Hesitant
  • Unsettled
  • Dubious


  • Certain
  • Confident
  • Sure
  • Definite
  • Clear
  • Assured
  • Secure
  • Decisive


  • Uncertainty
  • Uncertainty
  • Doubt
  • Ambiguity
  • Indecision
  • Insecurity
  • Ambivalence
  • Hesitation

🌐 🇬🇧 UNCERTAIN in other languages

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