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Definition of "indeterminate" []

  • Not precisely determined, determinable, or established: a person of indeterminate age. (adjective)
  • Not precisely fixed, as to extent, size, nature, or number: an indeterminate number of plant species in the jungle. (adjective)
  • Lacking clarity or precision, as in meaning; vague: an indeterminate turn of phrase. (adjective)
  • Not fixed or known in advance: an indeterminate future. (adjective)
  • Not leading up to a definite result or ending: an indeterminate campaign. (adjective)
  • Uncertain in extent, amount, or nature (adjective)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

  • Not definite; inconclusive (adjective)
  • Unable to be predicted, calculated, or deduced (adjective)
  • (of an effect) not obeying the law of causality; noncausal (adjective)
  • Having no numerical meaning, as 0.00 or 0/0 (adjective)
  • (of an equation) having more than one variable and an unlimited number of solutions (adjective)
  • (of a structure, framework, etc) comprising forces that cannot be fully analysed, esp by vector analysis (adjective)

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Use "indeterminate" in a sentence
  • "[And this means that] The accord between imagination as free and understanding as indeterminate is therefore not merely assumed: it is in a sense animated, enlivened, engendered by the interest of the beautiful (KCP 55)."
  • "Although I, like most law professors, can do a riff on how "35" is indeterminate, that is recognized as "academic" in the most pejorative sense; unless and until some 33-year-old is viewed as the truly indispensable person to inhabit the Oval Office, it will be taken as a given that we "know" what "35" means, which means a the passage of time time measured in solar (and not, for example, lunar) years."
  • "For he that goes about the violation of a law, wherein no penalty is determined, expecteth an indeterminate, that is to say, an arbitrary punishment."