Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Not definite, especially:
  • adj. Unclear; vague.
  • adj. Lacking precise limits: an indefinite leave of absence.
  • adj. Uncertain; undecided: indefinite about their plans.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Without limit; forever, or until further notice; not definite.
  • adj. Vague or unclear.
  • adj. Undecided or uncertain.
  • adj. An integral without specified limits.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Not definite; not limited, defined, or specified; not explicit; not determined or fixed upon; not precise; uncertain; vague; confused; obscure
  • adj. Having no determined or certain limits; large and unmeasured, though not infinite; unlimited.
  • adj. Boundless; infinite.
  • adj. Too numerous or variable to make a particular enumeration important; -- said of the parts of a flower, and the like. Also, indeterminate.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Not definite; not defined; not precise; vague: as, an indefinite time, proposition, term, or sensation.
  • Infinite in number. The term was introduced by Pascal. Descartes distinguished between the indefinite, which has no particular limit, and the infinite, which is incomparably greater than anything having a limit. The distinction is considered as highly important by many metaphysicians.
  • Specifically, in botany, uncertain in number or too great to be easily counted: for example, the stamens when more than 10, and not clearly in multiples of the ground number of the flower, are said to be indefinite.
  • In logic, indeterminate in logical quantity; not distinguishing between “some” and “all.”
  • In grammar, not such as to make definite or determinate the person, thing, place, time, or manner in question: applied to certain adjectives, pronouns, and adverbs, as the indefinite article (see article, 11), any, some, such, anywhere, anyhow, otherwise, and to certain tenses of verbs, as the Greek aorist (which means ‘indefinite’) and the simple past in English.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. not decided or not known
  • adj. vague or not clearly defined or stated

Etymologies

Sorry, no etymologies found.

Examples

  • If an examiner, when evaluating a claim term's disclosed definition, concludes the definition is not clear and precise and one of ordinary skill in the art would consider the term indefinite e.g., the definition's broadest reasonable interpretation results in more than one meaning and/or interpretation, then a rejection under 35 U.S.C. 112, second paragraph, would be appropriate.

    Archive 2008-09-01

  • You must know, if you would form an estimate of the Countess's heroic impudence, that a rumour was current in Lymport that the fair and well - developed Louisa Harrington, in her sixteenth year, did advisedly, and with the intention of rendering the term indefinite, entrust her guileless person to Mr. George Uplift's honourable charge.

    Evan Harrington — Volume 4

  • You must know, if you would form an estimate of the Countess's heroic impudence, that a rumour was current in Lymport that the fair and well-developed Louisa Harrington, in her sixteenth year, did advisedly, and with the intention of rendering the term indefinite, entrust her guileless person to Mr. George Uplift's honourable charge.

    Evan Harrington — Complete

  • Roche argued that the disclosure in the specification of undefined "mutants, analogs and allelic variants" as falling within the scope of the term "human erythropoietin" was enough to render the term indefinite, and the Court disagreed.

    Patent Docs

  • We haven't decided, thus, we are on what I call indefinite reproductive hold.

    The Future By Thirds

  • Youth activists of the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) began a hunger strike for what they called indefinite period in the hills and plains of Darjeeling district Friday demanding the creation of a separate Gorkhaland state.

    Gaea Times (by Simple Thoughts) Breaking News and incisive views 24/7

  • At 24, having spent a third of his life in indefinite detention, he now knows that within a year he'll likely leave Guantanamo Bay and return to Canada.

    Daphne Eviatar: The Curtain Closes on a Show Trial at Guantanamo Bay

  • If the FHA's reserve account were to run out of money, the agency has what is known as indefinite budget authority to draw on funds from the Treasury Department without a congressional appropriation.

    Risk Rises for Housing Agency

  • Forty-six are classified as "indefinite detainees," held without charges, but considered too dangerous to be released; 89 are eligible for release or transfer but in perpetual custody because there is no place to send them.

    Carlos Harrison: Unhappy Anniversary, Guantanamo!

  • But its use in indefinite constructions with ordinary nouns, like Every tenant is welcome here if they stay quiet and pay the rent on time, I suspect that before about the 1970s we would have heard he instead — partly because most often tenants were men, and the exceptions could be ignored.

    Singular “they” and the many reasons why it’s correct « Motivated Grammar

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