indeterminate

Indeterminate means not known or decided. When someone contracts a rare stomach parasite but has not been traveling internationally, you might say it had indeterminate origins.

It's important to distinguish indeterminate from undetermined, which means not yet decided. When you buy an antique vase and don't know when it dates from, you might describe it as of an indeterminate era. If you are traveling and don't know when you plan to return home, you could say that your return is as yet undetermined.

DEFINITIONS OF: indeterminate

1

adj not precisely determined or established; not fixed or known in advance

“of indeterminate age”
“a zillion is a large indeterminate number”
“an indeterminate point of law”
“the influence of environment is indeterminate
“an indeterminate future”
Synonyms:
undetermined
uncertain
not established beyond doubt; still undecided or unknown
inconclusive
not conclusive; not putting an end to doubt or question
indeterminable, undeterminable
not capable of being definitely decided or ascertained
cost-plus
determining payment based on the actual cost of production plus an agreed-upon fee or rate of profit
open-ended
allowing for a spontaneous response
Antonyms:
determinate
precisely determined or limited or defined; especially fixed by rule or by a specific and constant cause
fixed
(of a number) having a fixed and unchanging value
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adj not capable of being determined

“the indeterminate number of plant species in the jungle”
Synonyms
indeterminable, undeterminable
not capable of being definitely decided or ascertained

adj of uncertain or ambiguous nature

“the equivocal (or indeterminate) objects painted by surrealists”
Synonyms
ambiguous, equivocal
open to two or more interpretations; or of uncertain nature or significance; or (often) intended to mislead

adj not leading to a definite ending or result

“an indeterminate campaign”
Synonyms
inconclusive
not conclusive; not putting an end to doubt or question

adj having a capacity for continuing to grow at the apex

“an indeterminate stem”
Synonyms
racemose
having stalked flowers along an elongated stem that continue to open in succession from below as the stem continues to grow
Antonyms:
determinate
not continuing to grow indefinitely at the apex
cymose
having a usually flat-topped flower cluster in which the main and branch stems each end in a flower that opens before those below it or to its side
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