Indeterminate definition

ĭndĭ-tûrmə-nĭt
Not determinate.
  • Inexact in its limits, nature, etc.; indefinite; uncertain; vague.
    An indeterminate amount.
  • Not yet settled, concluded, or known; doubtful or inconclusive.
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(botany) Not terminating in a flower and continuing to grow at the apex.

An indeterminate inflorescence.

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Not precisely fixed, as to extent, size, nature, or number.

An indeterminate number of plant species in the jungle.

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The definition of indeterminate is something vague or not established.

When no one is sure what caused a fire to start, this is an example of when the cause is indeterminate.

When you add a pinch of sugar to a recipe but there's no set amount, this is an example of when the amount is indeterminate.

When a person is on probation until his behavior indicates he has become a law abiding citizen, this is an example of an indeterminate sentence.

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Not precisely determined, determinable, or established.

A person of indeterminate age.

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Lacking clarity or precision, as in meaning; vague.

An indeterminate turn of phrase.

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Not fixed or known in advance.

An indeterminate future.

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Not leading up to a definite result or ending.

An indeterminate campaign.

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Continuing to grow at the apical meristem or the terminal bud indefinitely, allowing for the development of an ever-increasing number of plant organs such as leaves, stems, or flowers to the side.
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(biology) Of growth: with no genetically defined end, and thus theoretically limitless.
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(botany) Of inflorescences: not topped with some form of terminal bud.
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(mathematics) Having more than one variable and an infinite number of solutions, such as the equation 5 x2 + 3 y = 10.
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Other Word Forms

Noun

Singular:
indeterminate
Plural:
indeterminates

Origin of indeterminate

  • Middle English from Latin indēterminātus in- not in–1 dēterminātus determined determinate

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition