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a. Not precisely determined, determinable, or established: a person of indeterminate age.
b. Not precisely fixed, as to extent, size, nature, or number: an indeterminate number of plant species in the jungle.
c. Lacking clarity or precision, as in meaning; vague: an indeterminate turn of phrase.
d. Not fixed or known in advance: an indeterminate future.
e. Not leading up to a definite result or ending: an indeterminate campaign.
2. Botany Not terminating in a flower and continuing to grow at the apex: an indeterminate inflorescence.
3. Mathematics Having more than one variable and an infinite number of solutions, such as the equation 5x2 + 3y = 10.

[Middle English, from Latin indēterminātus : in-, not; see in-1 + dēterminātus, determined; see determinate.]

in′de·ter′mi·nate·ly adv.
in′de·ter′mi·nate·ness, in′de·ter′mi·na′tion (-nā′shən) n.



between hawk and buzzard Hovering in the balance between two extremes; caught in the middle; neither one nor the other. The early uses of this phrase, dating from the early 17th century, were based on the disparity between a hawk and a buzzard, although they are both birds of prey. According to the OED, the buzzard is an inferior type of hawk, useless for falconry. Elsewhere, the hawk is referred to as a “true sporting bird,” and the buzzard is called a “heavy lazy fowl of the same species.” Thus, hawk has positive connotations and buzzard negative. Brewer’s 1895 edition of The Dictionary of Phrase and Fable makes reference to tutors, governesses, etc., as being “between hawk and buzzard” because they are neither masters and mistresses nor lowly servants. The phrase is also sometimes used in referring to twilight, which is neither day nor night. Therefore, anything that is caught in the tension between two extremes, such as good and bad, light and dark, high and low, is “between hawk and buzzard.”

between hay and grass Neither one thing nor the other; indeterminate; in an in-between and undefinable stage. Just as a hobbledehoy is neither a man nor a boy, something is between hay and grass when it cannot be categorized or fitted into a slot.

neither fish nor flesh nor good red herring Neither this nor that; a person of uncertain or oscillating principles. This phrase originated in medieval England, where, on certain fast days, all strata of society abstained from their staple foods; monks abstained from fish, the general populace abstained from meat, and beggars abstained from herring. In its figurative sense, this term refers to a nondescript object or a wishy-washy person.

Damned neuters, in their middle way of steering,
Are neither fish nor flesh nor good red herring.
(John Dryden, “Epilogue” to The Duke of Guise, 1682)

ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.indeterminateness - the quality of being vague and poorly defined
uncertainness, uncertainty, precariousness - being unsettled or in doubt or dependent on chance; "the uncertainty of the outcome"; "the precariousness of his income"
inconclusiveness - the quality of being inconclusive
References in periodicals archive ?
In order to be efficient in the investigation of actual cases, the abstract principles of bioethics need to be specified, meaning that the indeterminateness of general norms is reduced in order to give them "increased action guiding capacity, while retaining the moral commitments in the original norm" (Beauchamp, 2003, 269).
Since this is a serious obstacle in social nosology as compared with the medical nosology of individuals we get a much larger margin of indeterminateness, subjectivity and arbitrariness than it exists in medicine, though a good amount of this may be found there too.
Since referents grounded by proximal determiners are always interpreted as known, it is not possible to combine proximal determiners with the indefinite article-like jedan and neki, as their indeterminateness is in connection with unknowingness.
However, Hotelling warned of "indeterminateness" existing in the economic space of exhaustible resource producers when the numbers of producers are few and in competition: "When the supplies of the complementary goods are exhaustible, the same indeterminateness exists.
To be sure, the benefits paid by a tontine pension would vary from month to month because of fluctuations in the value of the underlying assets and the variability inherent in the indeterminateness of the deaths of other participants in the tontine pension.
However, Rothschild notes that while these advances allowed theory to be applied more widely to cases such as product differentiation across firms, which had been treated as exceptions in the theory of competition and monopoly, they did not go far in dealing with interdependence of firms and the resulting indeterminateness of oligopoly pricing outcomes.
This occurrence is only possible because of the indeterminateness of nothingness, for if Dao were to depend on something determinate, it could no longer serve as its own source, let alone harbor the truth of beyng.
dissenting) (criticizing the indeterminateness of Skidmore deference).
18) Therefore one could wonder, as Lucia Re (2005a) does, whether the vagueness and indeterminateness in the novel is the result of Masino's literary choice or the product of censors' skimming process.
The question of how this fts in with the doctrine of not-self is one that has arisen several times throughout the course of Buddhist history; what is certain is that the insubstantiality or indeterminateness of beings does not preclude our valuing them in the same way that it prevents our claiming that they have value.
Integrating production processes in a firm is thus primarily a "response to productive processes which have an irreducible degree of indeterminateness (and arbitrariness)" (p.
Edgeworth, Marshall, and the Indeterminateness of Wages.