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Uncertainty   /ənsˈərtənti/   Listen
Uncertainty

noun
(pl. uncertainties)
1.
Being unsettled or in doubt or dependent on chance.  Synonyms: precariousness, uncertainness.  "The precariousness of his income"
2.
The state of being unsure of something.  Synonyms: doubt, doubtfulness, dubiety, dubiousness, incertitude.



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"Uncertainty" Quotes from Famous Books



... know Germans who are liberally supporting the Allied cause because they believe the defeat of Prussianism is essential to a civilised Germany. Even your rigid censorship has not prevented our receipt of occasional letters from Germans, in which they admit the uncertainty of Germany's claim that the Allies forced the war. A considerable element of independent thinkers in Germany have had the wisdom to realise the perfectly obvious truth that no Government is willing to admit responsibility ...
— Plain Words From America • Douglas W. Johnson

... was not a real compendium—you had to allow so for leakage; for there had been no crack in Sir David's crystallisation. He spoke of his portrait as a plain map of the country, to be consulted by his children in a case of uncertainty. A proper map could be drawn up only when the country had been travelled. He gave Lyon his mornings, till luncheon, and they talked of many things, not neglecting, as a stimulus to gossip, the people in the house. Now that he did not 'go out,' ...
— A London Life; The Patagonia; The Liar; Mrs. Temperly • Henry James

... itinerary measurements. For example, the first meridian of Marinus of Tyre and Ptolemy, placed on the Fortunate Isles, in spite of its being so well chosen at the western extremity of the then known world, could not continue to be used on account of the uncertainty of the point of departure. That much to be regretted obstacle caused the method to be changed. It became necessary to fall back on the continent. But then, in place of a single common origin of longitude indicated ...
— International Conference Held at Washington for the Purpose of Fixing a Prime Meridian and a Universal Day. October, 1884. • Various

... distribution of land in 1616, there was granted private use of land under a tenant-farm policy which most probably was first inaugurated in 1614 under Sir Thomas Dale, although there is some uncertainty about the date. Three acres of "cleare ground" were allotted to men of the old settlement. In effect they became tenants of the company and were obligated to render only one month's service to the colony at some period other ...
— Mother Earth - Land Grants in Virginia 1607-1699 • W. Stitt Robinson, Jr.

... resumed, and I avail myself of the circumstance to say why it is so. Never did I feel stronger in my worldly prosperity than in September, 1855. Three months later I was so deeply embarrassed that I felt certain of nothing, except the uncertainty of everything. A combination of singular efforts and circumstances tempted me to put faith in a certain clock manufacturing company, and I placed my signature to papers which ultimately broke me down. After nearly five ...
— A Unique Story of a Marvellous Career. Life of Hon. Phineas T. • Joel Benton

... The same uncertainty attends the history of the great west window; all traces of the original having disappeared when a window of the Perpendicular style was introduced in agreement with the doorway below. Before the alterations, or mutilations, of the seventeenth century, this window ...
— Bell's Cathedrals: Southwark Cathedral • George Worley

... people were not ashamed to come and be immersed in the Jordan. There does not seem to have been any doubt or uncertainty with them as to the mode or form of baptism. Every one went to the river Jordan. If a few drops of water, applied to some part of the body, had answered the end of baptism as well as the immersion of the whole body in water, I think most ...
— Life and Labors of Elder John Kline, the Martyr Missionary - Collated from his Diary by Benjamin Funk • John Kline

... some economic progress in Iraq, and Iraq has tremendous potential for growth. But economic development is hobbled by insecurity, corruption, lack of investment, dilapidated infrastructure, and uncertainty. As one U.S. official observed to us, Iraq's economy has been badly shocked and is dysfunctional after suffering decades of problems: Iraq had a police state economy in the 1970s, a war economy in the 1980s, and a sanctions economy in the 1990s. Immediate and ...
— The Iraq Study Group Report • United States Institute for Peace

... Gulf Stream. It is usual to go over the banks of Newfoundland but the Captain feared the icebergs. The Captain said if there was anything done by the Almighty which he could wish altered it would be the Gulf Stream; there is not only a current against us, but great uncertainty as to calms and storms. Mr. and Mrs. Kennedy and her sister dined with us to-day. Jackson more than usually foolish. Some of the passengers trying to put their legs over an American flour cask, and so raise themselves over it upon their feet. Went upon deck ...
— A Journey to America in 1834 • Robert Heywood

... community put the legislative power into such hands as they think fit, with this trust, that they shall be governed by declared laws, or else their peace, quiet, and property will still be at the same uncertainty, as it was in the state of nature. (*Human laws are measures in respect of men whose actions they must direct, howbeit such measures they are as have also their higher rules to be measured by, which rules are two, the law of God, and ...
— Two Treatises of Government • John Locke

... two ways. First, inasmuch as the sensitive appetite naturally shrinks from bodily hurt, by sorrow if it is present, and by fear if it is future; and thus fear was in Christ, even as sorrow. Secondly, fear may be considered in the uncertainty of the future event, as when at night we are frightened at a sound, not knowing what it is; and in this way there was no fear in Christ, as Damascene says (De ...
— Summa Theologica, Part III (Tertia Pars) - From the Complete American Edition • Thomas Aquinas

... dropsies of the thorax and pericardium frequently exist together, and thus add to the uncertainty and fatality of ...
— Zoonomia, Vol. I - Or, the Laws of Organic Life • Erasmus Darwin

... a gentle tap came to my door, and Tom entered. He looked pale and anxious, and there was an uncertainty about his motions which ...
— Annals of a Quiet Neighbourhood • George MacDonald

... her every effort met with a rebuff from Jonas, and elicited nothing from Mehetabel, who left her in the same uncertainty as was Bideabout, whether she knew anything, or suspected anything beyond the fact that she had fallen insensible into the water. She had fallen grasping the gun, which had become entangled in some bushes, and this together with the water weeds had sustained ...
— The Broom-Squire • S. (Sabine) Baring-Gould

... the session-day of the council came round—a day to which Smith had looked forward with no ordinary feelings of interest, that were touched, at times, by the coldness of doubt and the agitation of uncertainty. Several times he had more than half repented of his refusal to accept the liberal offer of five thousand dollars, and of having fixed so positively upon six thousand as the ...
— Lessons in Life, For All Who Will Read Them • T. S. Arthur

... My uncertainty of what had happened to the Army of the Potomac in our absence, and as to where I should find it, made our getting back a problem somewhat difficult of solution, particularly as I knew that reinforcements for Lee had come up from the south to Richmond, ...
— The Memoirs of General Philip H. Sheridan, Vol. I., Part 3 • P. H. Sheridan

... uncertainty which comes over the most honest in such circumstances] Not—not so to speak in black and white, Your Worship; but that was my ...
— Forsyte Saga • John Galsworthy

... the rate of 158 per cent, or from $5,533,000 to $14,282,000; and that, if a development in any degree approximating to the past can be maintained and continued, then the extinguishment of the national debt in a comparatively brief period becomes a matter of no uncertainty. To secure this development, both by removing the shackles from industry, and by facilitating the means of rapid and cheap intercommunication between the different sections of the country, is to effect at the ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 17, No. 103, May, 1866 • Various

... condition had not affected his great soul; and his genius ever on the alert embraced every branch of the administration. But it was easily seen by those whose positions enabled them best to know his character that the source of his greatest suffering at Witepsk was the uncertainty whether he should remain in Poland, or should advance without delay into the heart of Russia. While he was hesitating between these two decisions he was nearly ...
— The Private Life of Napoleon Bonaparte, Complete • Constant

... preferred his master's wandering bachelor life to the resumption of marriage ties, and thus he had contrived to keep Mr. Egremont from meeting the Houghtons at Florence. At the same time the uncertainty as to Alice's fate had prevented any other marriage. Gregorio had taken care that, if Mr. Egremont had been villain enough to make such an attempt, he should know that his secret could be brought ...
— Nuttie's Father • Charlotte M. Yonge

... amputation, continued to complain for many days successively of pains, now in this joint and now in that, of the very fingers which had been cut off. Des Cartes was led by this incident to reflect on the uncertainty with which we attribute any particular place to any inward pain or uneasiness, and proceeded after long consideration to establish it as a general law: that contemporaneous impressions, whether images or sensations, ...
— Biographia Literaria • Samuel Taylor Coleridge

... days, the main subjects of the religious Art of Italy. On the contrary, all the early paintings are distinguished by the cheerful and trustful nature of the impressions they were intended to convey. In the midst of external depression, uncertainty of fortune and of life, often in the midst of persecution, the Roman Christians dwelt not on this world, but looked forward to the fulfilment of the promises of their Lord. Their imaginations did not need the stimulus of painted sufferings; suffering was before their eyes too often in its most vivid ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Vol. II, No. 8, June 1858 • Various

... wiping his eyes. "This class of purchasers are all speculators, and like excitement. The very uncertainty as to this fifth coupon gives interest to the investment, if ...
— Colonel Carter of Cartersville • F. Hopkinson Smith

... mind absolutely refuses to assimilate. I have learned Latin, English, French, Italian, and German grammar, and do not know a single rule of the construction of any language whatever. More over, to the present day, my early familiar use of French produces uncertainty in my mind as to the spelling of all words that take a double consonant in French and only one in English, as apartment, ...
— Records of a Girlhood • Frances Anne Kemble

... route before him—a flat, straight road, unbroken by bush, or tree, or eminence, with the sun's heat burning down upon it, stretched out in dreary monotony—he could scarcely find energy to begin his task; but the uncertainty of what may be seen beyond the next turn keeps expectation alive. The view that may be seen from yonder summit—the glimpse that may be caught perhaps, as the road winds round yonder knoll—hopes like these, not far distant, ...
— Sermons Preached at Brighton - Third Series • Frederick W. Robertson

... among the cultured and refined. But when she came to examine into the nature of this happiness she found that it contained no positive element; that it consisted mainly of relief, relief from the strain of an incessant anxiety and uncertainty. That the strain had been divided between her and Horace had only made it worse, for she had had the larger share of the anxiety, he of the uncertainty. Not that he was more uncertain than in the old days ...
— The Divine Fire • May Sinclair

... awkwardness, when it was to hide them of course: if her hands had been visible, they would at once have betrayed her. But he might as well think to win a star from heaven as her. It was a conflict, but it was soon over: there was no doubt about it, no uncertainty. He gave up the thought of her at once: his peasant-girl had taken wings and soared into a region where ...
— Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science Volume 15, No. 89, May, 1875 • Various

... war, which began in August 1998, dramatically reduced national output and government revenue, increased external debt, and resulted in the deaths of perhaps 3.5 million people from violence, famine, and disease. Foreign businesses curtailed operations due to uncertainty about the outcome of the conflict, lack of infrastructure, and the difficult operating environment. Conditions improved in late 2002 with the withdrawal of a large portion of the invading foreign troops. The ...
— The 2007 CIA World Factbook • United States

... colonial houses which are now destroyed, the trend, almost the exact line of old roads, can be traced by the cheerful faces of these garden-strays. The situation of old Fort Nassau, in Pennsylvania, so long a matter of uncertainty, is said to have been definitely determined by the familiar garden flowers found growing on one of these disputed sites. It is a tender thought that this indelible mark is left upon the face of our native land through the affection of ...
— Home Life in Colonial Days • Alice Morse Earle

... treaty of the United States and the Menomonees and Winebagoes, of Feb. 6th, 1826, in Article 8th, it was acknowledged that there existed some uncertainty in consequence of the cession made by the tribes upon Fox River and Green Bay, to the New York Indians. Finally the Menomonees made their complaint before the President, concerning the New York Indians, which has reference to the case, in the treaty by ...
— Legends, Traditions, and Laws of the Iroquois, or Six Nations, and History of the Tuscarora Indians • Elias Johnson

... tend to accentuate the importance of TIME in modern business. As business grows, instead of decreasing—risks increase. Any machinery which might operate to eliminate or reduce this uncertainty or speculative element in a jobber's business, would, we believe, be welcomed. Exchanges provide ...
— About sugar buying for Jobbers - How you can lessen business risks by trading in refined sugar futures • B. W. Dyer

... make out a sandy beach. He prayed that the timber to which he clung might be directed to it. Still, as he heard the fearful roar of the breakers, and watched the masses of foam which swept towards the shore, he felt the uncertainty that he should ever reach it. Several times he was nearly torn from his hold by the masses of wreck driven against him. His strength was decreasing. Another sea came rolling on, it might wash him from ...
— The Rival Crusoes • W.H.G. Kingston

... reached a certain age time seems to go very fast. Then, also, one begins to understand the meaning of such terms as "the uncertainty of life," "changes," "loss of friends," "partings," "old times," etc., which ring sadly in the ears ...
— A Flat Iron for a Farthing - or Some Passages in the Life of an only Son • Juliana Horatia Ewing

... evening train she returned to London, not having confessed to her family what she had done, and suffering still from some uncertainty as to the result. A day or two later Betsy wrote to her the happy news that the sentence of expulsion was withdrawn, and peace reigned once more in the ivy-covered lodge. By that time Miss Rockett had all but recovered her self-respect, and was so ...
— The House of Cobwebs and Other Stories • George Gissing

... advantages, of penetrating it with an army by land; the obstacles which are to be surmounted in acquiring a naval superiority; the hostile temper of many of the surrounding Indian tribes towards these States; and above all, the uncertainty whether the enemy will not persevere in their system of harassing and distressing our sea-coast and frontiers ...
— Life And Times Of Washington, Volume 2 • John Frederick Schroeder and Benson John Lossing

... laborious undertaking, nor of long duration, for all that was necessary was to pitch our old wornout, slanting-roof tents, occupied by six or eight men each. The troops had become too well acquainted with the uncertainty of their duration in camp to go into any very laborious or elaborate preparations. Kershaw had a very desirable location among the wooded hills, but this was soon denuded of every vestige of fuel of every kind, for it must be understood the army had no wagons or teams to haul their ...
— History of Kershaw's Brigade • D. Augustus Dickert

... against Gottlieb's possible appearance; for Hans had determined that until he had positive proof to go upon he would keep secret, and most of all from Minna, the dreadful fact of her father's crime. Therefore did he remain in a state of very harrowing uncertainty, with his plan of campaign ...
— A Romance Of Tompkins Square - 1891 • Thomas A. Janvier

... to a degree of uncertainty as to the use of terms, and as to whether the two now under consideration are identical. We may well pause therefore and lift a prayer, that since "we have received not the spirit of {85} the world but the Spirit which is of God, that we might know the things which ...
— The Ministry of the Spirit • A. J. Gordon

... in the work before us, are too graceful to be regretted, nor is their brilliant suggestiveness otherwise than pleasing and profitable too, so long as it is received on its own grounds merely, and affects not with its uncertainty the very matter of its foundation. But all oscillation is communicable, and Lord Lindsay is much to be blamed for leaving it entirely to the reader to distinguish between the determination of his research and the activity of his fancy—between the authority ...
— On the Old Road Vol. 1 (of 2) - A Collection of Miscellaneous Essays and Articles on Art and Literature • John Ruskin

... "Yes," and asked politely how Miss Leavitt had spent her holiday. This gave the girl with red hair time to control the temper which accompanied it. But if, in that brief interval of uncertainty, she had burst out with the fierce insult which burned her tongue, never again could she have ventured to claim friendship with Winifred Child. And if she had lost her right to claim it, all the future might have been ...
— Winnie Childs - The Shop Girl • C. N. Williamson

... vapour. The spirits of the prisoner were depressed in proportion, and since the first hour of his imprisonment he had never, perhaps, felt so much as at that moment, all the leaden weight of dull captivity, the anguish of uncertainty, and the delay of hope, which, ever from the time of the prophet king down to the present day, has made the heart sick and the soul weary. It was in vain that his daughter, with the tenderest, the kindest, the most assiduous care, strove to ...
— The King's Highway • G. P. R. James

... bound? For, according to rumour, our Commodore had received sealed orders touching that matter, which were not to be broken open till we gained a precise latitude of the coast. Shall I tell how, at last, all this uncertainty departed, and many a foolish prophecy was proved false, when our noble frigate—her longest pennant at her main—wound her stately way into the innermost harbour of Norfolk, like a plumed Spanish Grandee threading the corridors ...
— White Jacket - or, the World on a Man-of-War • Herman Melville

... circumstances by set rules, or if they were always favoured by fortune: but being frequently driven into straits where rules are useless, and being often kept fluctuating pitiably between hope and fear by the uncertainty of fortune's greedily coveted favours, they are consequently, for the most part, very prone to credulity. (2) The human mind is readily swayed this way or that in times of doubt, especially when hope and fear are struggling for the mastery, though ...
— A Theologico-Political Treatise [Part I] • Benedict de Spinoza

... arrangement they had entered into with us. But Thursday passed, and nothing happened. Friday wore on towards evening, and the constant strain upon my nerves had made me irritable. Terry, who was calmly getting ready for the start as if there were no cause for uncertainty, chaffed me on my state of mind, and I rounded upon him viciously, for was not all my ...
— My Friend the Chauffeur • C. N. Williamson and A. M. Williamson

... reveal a doctrine so tremendous, so awful, so unutterably momentous in its practical relations, as that of the endless close of all probation at death, is it conceivable that he would merely have couched it in a few figurative expressions and left it as a matter of obscure inference and uncertainty? No: in that case, he would have iterated and reiterated it, defined, guarded, illustrated it, and have left no possibility of honest mistake or doubt ...
— The Destiny of the Soul - A Critical History of the Doctrine of a Future Life • William Rounseville Alger

... diameter of the space enclosed is 100 ft.; the stones are from 13 ft. to 28 ft. high; is generally regarded as an exceptional development of the ordinary stone circle, but the special purpose of its unusual construction is still a matter of uncertainty. ...
— The Nuttall Encyclopaedia - Being a Concise and Comprehensive Dictionary of General Knowledge • Edited by Rev. James Wood

... never seemed to show any suspicion that she would not live on quietly at home like other girls; but while Nan told herself that she would give up any plan, even this, if he could convince her that it would be wrong, still her former existence seemed like a fog and uncertainty of death, from which she had turned away, this time of her own accord, toward a great light of satisfaction and certain safety and helpfulness. The doctor would know how to help her; if she only could study with him that would be enough; and away ...
— A Country Doctor and Selected Stories and Sketches • Sarah Orne Jewett

... unaltered forms, was, on the contrary, the first condition of existence for all earlier industrial classes. Constant revolutionizing of production, uninterrupted disturbance of all social conditions, everlasting uncertainty and agitation, distinguish the bourgeois epoch from all earlier ones. All fixed, fast-frozen relations, with their train of ancient and venerable prejudices and opinions, are swept away; all new-formed ones become antiquated before they can ossify. All that is solid melts into air, all that ...
— Manifesto of the Communist Party • Karl Marx

... of Buffalo. He dreamt that he was being chased around the deck by a couple of young ladies, one a very pronounced blonde, and the other an equally pronounced brunette, and he suffered a great deal because of the uncertainty as to which of the two pursuers he desired the most to avoid. It seemed to him that at last he was cornered, and the fiendish young ladies began literally, as the slang phrase is, to mop the deck with him. ...
— In a Steamer Chair And Other Stories • Robert Barr

... not be bad, but there was rather too much uncertainty about their mode of action. That was a sort of thing more in Cusack's and the Welchers' line than ...
— The Willoughby Captains • Talbot Baines Reed

... take place, there must be a contest. Parties are formed; plans and counterplans are laid; a protracted and heated controversy ensues; and when, finally, the voting is ended, there is sometimes doubt and uncertainty in ascertaining the true result, and very often an angry and obstinate refusal to acquiesce in it when it is determined. Thus the principle of hereditary descent seems simple, clear, and liable to no uncertainty or doubt, while that of popular election tends to ...
— Pyrrhus - Makers of History • Jacob Abbott

... uncertainty and deadlock, the country was now prepared for a forward movement, and though Polk was not her ideal statesman, the people rallied with fair unanimity to his standard. The new Administration would represent the new Democratic party—a resolute South ...
— Expansion and Conflict • William E. Dodd

... come I'm afraid to learn the truth about her. After all uncertainty is hope, you ...
— The Christian - A Story • Hall Caine

... a silence of fear and uncertainty, which was at length broken by Bailie Craigdallie, who, looking very significantly to the speaker, replied, "You are confident in a stout doublet, neighbour Smith, or you would not talk ...
— The Fair Maid of Perth • Sir Walter Scott

... The joy and confidence with which this theology could be preached, Ritschl awakened in his pupils in a degree which had not been equalled by any theologian since Schleiermacher himself. Numbers who, in the time of philosophical and scientific uncertainty, had lost their courage, regained it in contact with his confident and deeply religious spirit. A wholesome nature, eminently objective in temper, concentrated with all his force upon his task, of rare dialectical gifts, he had a great sense of humour and occasionally also the faculty of bitterly ...
— Edward Caldwell Moore - Outline of the History of Christian Thought Since Kant • Edward Moore

... to wise choice on the part of young girls who are pushing into industrial occupations is the uncertainty of their continuing as workers outside the home. The average length of the girl's industrial life is computed to be only about five years. She enters upon work at an age when it is often impossible to tell whether she will marry or remain single. She is usually unable to know whether or not she ...
— Vocational Guidance for Girls • Marguerite Stockman Dickson

... important part of your letter. I reply that neither Mr. Prentiss or myself have ever had any sympathy with Second Adventists. All the talk about it seems to us mere speculation and probable doom to disappointment. I do not see that it is as powerful a stimulant to holiness as the uncertainty of life is. Christ may come any day; but He may not come for ages; but we must and shall die in the merest fragment of an age, and see Him as He is. It will be a day of unspeakable joy, when we meet Him here or there. I shrink from unprofitable discussion of points that, after all, can ...
— The Life and Letters of Elizabeth Prentiss • George L. Prentiss

... found fossil at Bridlington, and living in our British seas, but wanting in all the formations, even the newest, afterwards to be described as Crag. As the greater part of these drifts are barren of organic remains, their classification is at present a matter of great uncertainty. ...
— The Student's Elements of Geology • Sir Charles Lyell

... burlesque narratives (such as the Shepherd's Mazeppa-like ride on the Bonassus) are inimitably good, though they are too often spoilt by Wilson's great faults of prolixity and uncertainty of touch. The criticisms, of which there are many, are also extremely unequal, but not a few very fine passages may be found among them. The politics, it must be owned, are not good for much, even from the Tory point of view. But the greatest attraction of the whole, next to ...
— Essays in English Literature, 1780-1860 • George Saintsbury

... which I valued as 'light and life' itself; but in another way there reached me a matchless misery, and which haunted me almost as constantly as my own shadow when the sun shone. Considering the dark uncertainty of my future prospects in life, that regard I felt it fearful almost beyond measure even to seek to retain, incurring the responsibility of marring the fortune of one whom nevertheless I could not bear the thought of another ...
— The Modern Scottish Minstrel, Volumes I-VI. - The Songs of Scotland of the Past Half Century • Various

... case would hardly come under this category; yet the difference between seventeen and thirty-seven was sufficient to warrant in him a trembling uncertainty, and eager catching at the skirts of that vanishing youth whose preciousness he never seemed to have recognized till now. It was with a mournful interest that all day I watched him follow the child about, gather her posies, help ...
— John Halifax, Gentleman • Dinah Maria Mulock Craik

... the rope, letting it drop silently into the water. I had barely turned my back to the rail when Henley emerged within six feet of me. For an instant his gaze was forward, and then, as his eyes accustomed themselves to the darkness, he turned slightly and perceived me, peering at me in uncertainty. ...
— Gordon Craig - Soldier of Fortune • Randall Parrish

... of what the last gentleman said; but also, that at the same time he did no more than what, he durst be bold to say, he knew to be the King's mind, that as soon as peace was concluded he would do it of himself. Then rose Sir Thomas Littleton, and did give several reasons for the uncertainty of their meeting again but to adjourne, in case news comes of the peace being ended before Monday next, and the possibility of the King's having some about him that may endeavour to alter his own, and the good part of his Council's advice, for the keeping up of the land-army; ...
— Diary of Samuel Pepys, Complete • Samuel Pepys

... through the young wife's brain. Debts here, and debts there; the scanty list of small commissions ahead, which she knew by heart; the uncertainty of the year before them; clothes urgently wanted for the child, for John, for herself. She drew a long ...
— Fenwick's Career • Mrs. Humphry Ward

... settled down to an acquiescence in their allotment. The highest and the lowest in the class was often ascertained more easily (though not without some difficulty) than the intermediate members of the class, where there was room for uncertainty whose claim was best, and where partiality, no doubt, was sometimes indulged. But I must add, that, although the honor of a place in the class was chiefly ideal, yet there were some substantial advantages. The higher ...
— A Collection of College Words and Customs • Benjamin Homer Hall

... into the glass, tortured by a hideous uncertainty. His senses told him there was nothing amiss, yet he had had a proof, and yet, as he peered most earnestly, there was, it seemed, something strange and not altogether usual in the expression of the eyes. Perhaps it might be the unsteady flare of the gas, or perhaps ...
— The Hill of Dreams • Arthur Machen

... help the ordinary activities of the League can be hers only during the infancy of the body. No organization can draw its nurture permanently from sources outside of itself, although many a movement has been nursed through its early stages of uncertainty and struggle by the aid of ...
— The Trade Union Woman • Alice Henry

... elements of great injustice and peril to the settlers upon the localities affected; and now that their existence can not be avoided, no duty is more pressing than to fix as soon as possible their bounds and terminate the threats of trouble which arise from uncertainty. ...
— A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents - Section 3 (of 3) of Volume 8: Grover Cleveland, First Term. • Grover Cleveland

... galleys before the truce was expired. He imputed to them alone, and to their injustice, all the calamities with which the two wars had been attended. After thanking Hannibal for the admonition he had given him, with regard to the uncertainty of human events, he concluded with desiring him to prepare for battle, unless he chose rather to accept of the conditions that had been already proposed; to which (he observed) some others would be added, in order to punish the Carthaginians for their having violated ...
— The Ancient History of the Egyptians, Carthaginians, Assyrians, • Charles Rollin

... was an uncertainty about the manner of his father's death. It was given out by Claudius, that a serpent had stung him: but young Hamlet had shrewd suspicions that Claudius himself was the serpent; in plain English, that he had murdered him for his crown, and that the serpent who stung his father did now sit ...
— Books for Children - The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb, Vol. 3 • Charles and Mary Lamb

... mind, in which he was so philosophical—furnished, too, by his hoarding curiosity with an immense accumulation, of details,—skilful in the art of detecting falsehoods amidst truths, and weighing probability against uncertainty—holding together the chain of argument from its first principles to its remotest consequence—Bayle stands among those masters of the human intellect who taught us to think, and also to unthink! All, indeed, is a collection of researches and of reasonings: he had the art of melting ...
— Curiosities of Literature, Vol. II (of 3) - Edited, With Memoir And Notes, By His Son, The Earl Of Beaconsfield • Isaac D'Israeli

... the Federalists were perplexed and distracted by an increasing uncertainty as to what they should do. This was especially true of those who sighed for power and despaired of getting it through the continuance of a Federalist party. Rufus King, clear as to the course which ought to be followed, earnestly advised his friends to nominate a ...
— A Political History of the State of New York, Volumes 1-3 • DeAlva Stanwood Alexander

... from the first, and Jewdwine was hard to charm. There was no room for speculation as to him. Even to the eye his type had none of the uncertainty and complexity of Rickman's. He looked neither more nor less than he was—an Oxford don, developing into a London Journalist. You divined that the process would be slow. There was no unseemly haste about Jewdwine; ...
— The Divine Fire • May Sinclair

... it was any other of the Go Ahead boys I would say we would be sure to find him there, but no one knows what Jack will do. The only certain thing about him is his uncertainty. Don't you remember—" ...
— Go Ahead Boys and the Racing Motorboat • Ross Kay

... 2. The uncertainty of a foreign language even in a day contemporary with the original writer, and therefore over and above what arises from lapse of time ...
— The Posthumous Works of Thomas De Quincey, Vol. 1 (2 vols) • Thomas De Quincey

... resolution which has to be taken. To have abandoned a path which I had selected from my childhood, and which led without danger to the pure and noble aims which I had set before myself, in order to tread another along which I could discern nothing but uncertainty and disappointment; to have disregarded the opinion which will have only blame in store for what is really an honest act on my part, would have been a small thing, if I had not at the same time been compelled to tear out part of my heart, or, to speak more accurately, to pierce another ...
— Recollections of My Youth • Ernest Renan

... death of Gabriel Pomiuk. The splendid courage and cheerfulness of the little Eskimo lad was to result in happiness for many other little sufferers. Now, as always it was, with Doctor Grenfell, "I can if I will,"—none of the uncertainty of, "I will if I can." He pitched into the work of raising money to build that children's home. He lectured, and wrote, and talked about it in his usual enthusiastic way, and money began to come to him from good people all over the world. At length ...
— The Story of Grenfell of the Labrador - A Boy's Life of Wilfred T. Grenfell • Dillon Wallace

... ended the fighting for that night. It was one of the most exciting engagements we ever had, for while the actual number engaged was small, and the casualties were not great, the time, the place, the circumstances, the darkness, the uncertainty, all combined to make "the midnight fight at Monterey" one of unique interest. General Custer had his horse shot under him which, it was said and I have reason to believe, was the seventh horse killed under ...
— Personal Recollections of a Cavalryman - With Custer's Michigan Cavalry Brigade in the Civil War • J. H. (James Harvey) Kidd

... as willingly as they did himself, but he knew that the native officers did not possess anything like the same influence with the Portuguese that the English did, and that there might be a rapid deterioration in their discipline and morale. He remained in a state of uncertainty for a week, at the end of which time he received a letter from Captain Nelson, and tearing it ...
— With Moore At Corunna • G. A. Henty

... San Francisco earthquake is a matter of great uncertainty. In general, whenever the internal stress of the forces that give rise to earthquakes is relieved there is usually a long period of quiescence in the strata of the earth, but in the course of time, especially in regions ...
— Complete Story of the San Francisco Horror • Richard Linthicum

... condition, the Democratic agents who made the canvass reported that there was an air of uncertainty throughout the district, and that many of those who declared for Hopkins were lukewarm and faint-hearted, and might easily be induced to change their votes. This was what must be prevented. The "weak-kneed" contingency must be strengthened and fortified, and a couple of hundred votes in one way ...
— Aunt Jane's Nieces at Work • Edith Van Dyne

... ministry,—the home for soldiers' wives and mothers. A soldier is like other human beings. In his sickness he yearns for a sight of the familiar faces, and sends for wife or mother; or wife or mother, unable to bear longer the uncertainty, when she can get no tidings from the absent, starts for Washington. There, searching vainly for husband or son, she spends all or nearly all her money. Or if she finds him, it may well be that he has no funds with which to help her. In the little buildings on one side of the refuge ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 15, No. 88, February, 1865 • Various

... commercial countries. Where those proportions are not infused into the circulation and do not control it, it is manifest that prices must vary according to the tide of bank issues, and the value and stability of property must stand exposed to all the uncertainty which attends the administration of institutions that are constantly liable to the temptation of an interest distinct from that of the community ...
— Complete State of the Union Addresses from 1790 to the Present • Various

... comes near you, leave your plan and adopt another: seven of spades shows the loss of a most valuable, influential friend, whose death will plunge you in very great distress and poverty: the six of spades announces a mediocrity of fortune, and great uncertainty in your undertakings: the five of spades is rather doubtful as to success or a rise in life; but it promises luck in the choice of your companion for life, although it shows that your own temper is rather sullen—and so to get ...
— The Gaming Table: Its Votaries and Victims - Volume II (of II) • Andrew Steinmetz

... rise above its foundations, yet we should choose that our educational work should be like the second rather than the first, even though it has reached "the ugly stage," though it has its disappointments and troubles before it, with its daily risks and the uncertainty of ultimate success. But it is a truer work, and a better introduction to ...
— The Education of Catholic Girls • Janet Erskine Stuart

... important defect in the Regulations lies in the uncertainty it allows to exist as to the subdivision of the dismounted squadron, and how the skirmishers on dismounting are ...
— Cavalry in Future Wars • Frederick von Bernhardi

... Congress, and to the body in which he has served, we cannot but be surprised and troubled to find them absolutely silent. You will oblige me, his uncle, Sir, his worthy father, and a whole family, by helping us out of this cruel uncertainty. ...
— The Diplomatic Correspondence of the American Revolution, Vol. IX • Various

... the closer and more pleasant acquaintance of the day. Little Marjorie's appropriation of the lawyer as her Eugene added another ripening element to its growth; so that the two garden explorers felt none of the stiffness and uncertainty of a first introduction. What Miss Carmichael's thoughts were she only could tell, but she knew that the impetuous and affectionate Coristine required the merest trifle of encouragement to change the steady decorous tide of advancing knowledge and respect into an abruptly awkward cataract, ...
— Two Knapsacks - A Novel of Canadian Summer Life • John Campbell

... Now, that would be a solution of the problem of the measure of value. The price of everything would be debated upon, I allow, because debate is still our only method of fixing prices; but yet, as all light is the result of conflict, debate, though it may be a proof of uncertainty, has for its object, setting aside the greater or less amount of good faith that enters into it, the discovery of the relation of values to each other,— that is, their measurement, ...
— The Philosophy of Misery • Joseph-Pierre Proudhon

... sort of poofed out once more, and we stood eating cheese straws and cold eggs respectively in silence. There seemed to exist some little uncertainty as to what ...
— Right Ho, Jeeves • P. G. Wodehouse

... be given bath and means to shave, won the respect and assistance of the guard and the Bolshevik officer. Of course in making the two day's march in prisoner convoy from Bolsheozerki to Emtsa there had been severe hardship and privation and painful uncertainty and mental agony over their possible fate. And they had not stopped long enough in one place to enable them to make an ...
— The History of the American Expedition Fighting the Bolsheviki - Campaigning in North Russia 1918-1919 • Joel R. Moore

... place at a distance, long before we can hear the result, yet as long as we remain in Ignorance of it, we irritate ourselves about it, and suffer all the agonies of suspense, as if it was still to come; but as soon as our uncertainty is removed, our fretful impatience vanishes, we resign ourselves to fate, and make up our minds to what has happened ...
— Table-Talk - Essays on Men and Manners • William Hazlitt

... fire-pit to seem now a very small burning, and to give no great light up to us; and we neither to be abled to see very clear of the Gorge bottom, in that the haze of the fumes and the smoke was in the air of the Gorge, and made uncertainty; and we to be nowise proper free of the smoke, even ...
— The Night Land • William Hope Hodgson

... afternoon wore itself away, the judge lived through the many stages of doubt and uncertainty, for suppose anything had happened to Mahaffy! When the sheriff came with his supper he asked him if he had seen or heard ...
— The Prodigal Judge • Vaughan Kester

... free trade, and regional integration was undermined by the ethnic Albanian insurgency of 2001. The economy shrank about 4% because of decreased trade, intermittent border closures, increased deficit spending on security needs, and investor uncertainty. The international community hopes to restart growth with ...
— The 2002 CIA World Factbook • US Government

... that passed in uncertainty as to what fate was reserved for Ulster, and especially every visit of the leader to Belfast, endeared him more intensely to his followers, who had long since learnt to give him their unquestioning trust; and his bereavement by the death of ...
— Ulster's Stand For Union • Ronald McNeill

... water as its contents were gradually consumed. We saw it burning the whole night, and at day-break could distinguish a column of smoke, which, however, soon ceased, and every sign of our favourite vessel disappeared. When the sun rose, our anxiety and uncertainty as to our situation were greatly relieved by discovering land ahead; the sight of it filled us with grateful joy, and nerved us with fresh vigour for the exertion required in managing the boats. With the advance of the ...
— The Book of Enterprise and Adventure - Being an Excitement to Reading. For Young People. A New and Condensed Edition. • Anonymous

... Oliver's warning, made his escape from Hampton Court; after some indecision and uncertainty, he went to Carisbrooke Castle in the Isle of Wight. At first, he was pretty free there; but, even there, he carried on a pretended treaty with the Parliament, while he was really treating with commissioners from Scotland to send an army into England to take his part. When he broke ...
— A Child's History of England • Charles Dickens

... Portuguese voyages along the African coast is, for the most part, rather uninviting. It abounds with names, and dates, and facts; but the names are often hard to pronounce, the dates have sometimes an air of uncertainty about them, and the facts stand out in hard relief, dry and unattractive. Could we recall, however, the voyagers themselves, and listen to their story, we should find it animating enough. Each enterprise, as we have it now, with ...
— The Life of Columbus • Arthur Helps

... preserved for our inspection. The single circumstance of their being little liable to be carried down into seas, might be the cause of their non- appearance in our quarries. There is at the same time a limit to uncertainty on this point. We see, from what remains have been found in the whole series, a clear progress throughout, from humble to superior types of being. Hence we derive a light as to what animals may have existed at particular times, which is in some measure independent of the specialties ...
— Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation • Robert Chambers

... "But he's afraid to put his fortune to the test. He thinks even uncertainty is better than knowledge of ...
— In the Wilderness • Robert Hichens

... was staggered: the case looked ugly, as Archie said. And there was a veil of reticence, of secrecy, about Dredge, that always kept his conduct in a half-light of uncertainty. Of some men one would have said off-hand: "It's impossible!" But one couldn't affirm it ...
— Tales Of Men And Ghosts • Edith Wharton

... to myself, to drive away this one besetting, hopeless fancy. I scorned even to make inquiries. I was too much of a stoic to strive to penetrate the unknown, and thought it more dignified, or perhaps more pleasant, to go on dreaming in uncertainty. ...
— Raphael - Pages Of The Book Of Life At Twenty • Alphonse de Lamartine

... Spain, about the heighth of the rock [of Lisbon?], some twenty or thirty leagues off shore. This being advisedly considered, and having regard to the shortness of time occasioned by our long delay at this place, and the uncertainty of favourable weather for us, it was generally concluded, as the best and surest way to meet my lord, to bear up for the heighth of the rock, without making any stay upon the coast, and thence to make directly for the foresaid islands, which was accordingly fully agreed ...
— A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume VII • Robert Kerr

... the bell and summon a servant? If he did so, he would have to leave the house in a state of uncertainty. No! he decided to wait and let further events throw ...
— Mark Mason's Victory • Horatio Alger

... Harrington, when his mother is opposed to it utterly, and his father almost treats the whole subject with ridicule. Ralph has told her faithfully every word that passed between him and his father, and her delicate intuition detects the uncertainty and hollowness of it all. With these honorable feelings warring against the newly-awakened love in her heart, it is no wonder that gentle Lina trembled, and grew red and white again in the presence of ...
— Mabel's Mistake • Ann S. Stephens

... general feeling of excitement and uncertainty prevailed during the early hours of the morning. Sir Oliver and his wife strove to appear calm and tranquil, but inwardly they were consumed by anxiety. They felt something very much approaching certainty that their own sons knew what ...
— The Secret Chamber at Chad • Evelyn Everett-Green

... you're doing it very well, too, but you can't control your fingers and your eyes—and neither can I, I fancy, though I've tried hard enough, God knows! We are about all in! These four days of strain and uncertainty have taken it all out of us. If I had any doubt as to my affection for Elaine, it's vanished, now.——I don't say I'm fool enough to propose to her, yet I'm scarcely responsible, at present. If I were to see her this minute, I'd ...
— In Her Own Right • John Reed Scott

... the Water, and bring it to some Place of Safety or other; tho' where it should be, the Devil with all his Cunning could not resolve, whether on the same Surface the Waters drawing off, or in any other created or to be created Place; and this State of Uncertainty being evidently his Case, and which proves his Ignorance of Futurity, it was his Business, I say, to watch with the utmost vigilance for ...
— The History of the Devil - As Well Ancient as Modern: In Two Parts • Daniel Defoe

... advance had been so rapid that there seems to have been some uncertainty in the minds of Captains Bailey and Lee of the Cayuga and Oneida as to where she was. It being yet dark they were very properly inclined to wait for the rest of the fleet to come up. In a few moments, however, the Oneida moved slowly ahead as far ...
— The Gulf and Inland Waters - The Navy in the Civil War. Volume 3. • A. T. Mahan

... moment you are on the point of telling your secret, at another you hide behind it. I am in the dark, and feel my way in uncertainty. How can I, when I do not know the whole ...
— The Precipice • Ivan Goncharov

... me, eh? What are we to do, then; stay in this wretched state of uncertainty, unable to stir a ...
— Fire Island - Being the Adventures of Uncertain Naturalists in an Unknown Track • G. Manville Fenn

... forest primeval in its original grandeur. Here the Indian roamed undisputed master; not the tutored Huron of Voltaire's tale, but the savage of torch and tomahawk. The continent was as yet unexplored. In uncertainty as to motives for man's action the French magistrate always searches for the woman,—"cherchez la femme!" One single allusion in a letter written to Badollet, in 1783, shows that there was a woman in Gallatin's horoscope. Who she was, what her relation to ...
— Albert Gallatin - American Statesmen Series, Vol. XIII • John Austin Stevens

... those 'to' whom he is going, rather than of those 'with' whom he is going. But at sea more curiosity is excited, if only on this account, that the pleasant or unpleasant qualities of your companions are of greater importance to you, from the uncertainty how long you may be obliged to house ...
— The Life of Samuel Taylor Coleridge - 1838 • James Gillman

... slowly. The old mystery and uncertainty about the Southern army returned. It suddenly disappeared from Frederick, and McClellan became extremely cautious. He had nearly a hundred thousand men, veterans now, but he believed that Lee had two ...
— The Sword of Antietam • Joseph A. Altsheler

... surprise and dismay in her face. She and Grand were staring hard at each other, but neither made the slightest pretense of anything more than visual recognition. She averted her gaze after a moment of uncertainty, and, with her head erect, passed close by the Colonel and his daughter, both of whom were scrutinizing her with ...
— The Rose in the Ring • George Barr McCutcheon

... dishonesty, and his opinion can only be overruled, not by any principle of law, but by the opinion of another judging like himself without law. In the second place, even if he be ever so honest, his mode of deciding questions would introduce an element of uncertainty into human life; no one would know beforehand what would happen to him, or would seek to conform in his conduct to any rule of law. For the compact which the law makes with men, that they shall be protected if they observe the law in their dealings with one another, would have to be substituted ...
— Statesman • Plato

... and confused gusts of memory never lasted for more than a few seconds; it often happened that, in my spell of uncertainty as to where I was, I did not distinguish the successive theories of which that uncertainty was composed any more than, when we watch a horse running, we isolate the successive positions of its body as they appear upon a bioscope. But I had seen first one and ...
— Swann's Way - (vol. 1 of Remembrance of Things Past) • Marcel Proust

... that such a system was distinctly evil, but it must be confessed our uncertainty regarding the whole matter of "Protection" does not justify us in assigning it a definite place among the causes of national decay. That in some way it produced an enormous revenue is certain, and that the method was dishonest is no ...
— The Collected Works of Ambrose Bierce • Ambrose Bierce

... philosophical letter-writer might have enlarged on the temptations to which Burns was exposed from his struggles with fortune and the uncertainty of his fate. He might have shewn how a poet, not born to wealth or title, was kept in a constant state of feverish anxiety with respect to his fame and the means of a precarious livelihood: that "from being chilled with poverty, steeped in contempt, ...
— Lectures on the English Poets - Delivered at the Surrey Institution • William Hazlitt

... train, at Sleepy Cat, an early dinner was being served to the canyon party. They had come back enthusiastic. The scenery was declared superb, and the uncertainty of the situation most satisfying. The riot of the mountain stream, which plunging now unbridled from wall to wall had scoured the deep gorge for hundreds of feet, was a moving spectacle. The activity of the swarming ...
— The Daughter of a Magnate • Frank H. Spearman

... could not make up his mind. Nothing, in his long life, had puzzled him as he was puzzled now. No happening, connected with another human being, had ever so filled him with the discomfort born of uncertainty. ...
— The End of Her Honeymoon • Marie Belloc Lowndes

... last the change in him, the change from restless uncertainty to steady fixity of purpose, from an objectless wanderer to a traveller towards a known destination, comprehended with a passionate outrush of gratitude to the man who had wrought this in a generosity too broad to remember his ...
— From the Car Behind • Eleanor M. Ingram

... the same that once walked in Jerusalem and Galilee.' At that moment there appeared at the door a newcomer of dark hue. A frost fell on the company; they seemed to stiffen and close their ranks; the host's face turned in trouble and uncertainty from the newcomer to the guest of honor. The Guest arose and spoke to the stranger,—'Take my place!' ...
— The Negro and the Nation - A History of American Slavery and Enfranchisement • George S. Merriam

... can be attached to any of them. The vessel is plainly of the same type as that which destroyed Kronstadt two months ago, but larger and more powerful. The inference is that she is one of a fleet in the hands of the Terrorists, and the profoundest uncertainty and anxiety prevail throughout naval and military circles everywhere as to the use that they may make of these appalling means of destruction should they take any share ...
— The Angel of the Revolution - A Tale of the Coming Terror • George Griffith

... efficient helper under present circumstances. Meantime she was content to do her best for Earlscombe 'for the present,' by which she meant till her son brought home a wife; but we knew that to him the words bore a different meaning, though he was still in doubt and uncertainty how to act, and what might be the wrong to ...
— Chantry House • Charlotte M. Yonge

... buried in solid rock, and requires heavy crushing-mills and cumbrous machinery, which must be built and transported at immense expense by capitalists. It is a question with such capitalists how certain is the promise of returns. The uncertainty of mining, as shown by the results of ventures in Colorado, has naturally deterred them. Under the old process of crushing the quartz to powder by stamps, and then separating the gold by amalgamation with quicksilver, but twenty-five per cent of the gold is saved. After ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 18, No. 106, August, 1866 • Various

... carefully tabulated a number of aids to the milk supply, which we hope will be most earnestly tried before the baby is taken from the breast—for so many, many more bottle-fed babies die during the first year than the breast fed. The dangers of infection, the worry of the food preparation, the uncertainty of results, all call for a most untiring effort on the part of every doctor, nurse, and mother, in their endeavors to secure maternal nursing. The following is a summary of "aids ...
— The Mother and Her Child • William S. Sadler

... the saucer of which she found a couple of greasy matches. A cry of joy escaped her as she struck a light, as quickly as her nervous fingers and glad excitement allowed her. At least now the horrible spell of darkness and uncertainty was broken. The candle hardly took at first, but as she watched it eagerly, with both hands around the timid spark, it spluttered and flared up into a tall lanky flame that made her surroundings ...
— Honor Edgeworth • Vera

... so and unable to travel, to kill him and have him jerked, and if dead to have him skinned. They brought back word that he was still alive and might get over it. Late getting ready to start owing to the uncertainty whether the bullock was to be jerked or not. Bullocks started at 10.35 a.m., and if I get feed must make a short day of it. If the road keeps as heavy as it has done since coming to this creek I shall have to abandon the cart, which for many reasons I shall regret. Wind north and disagreeable. Got ...
— McKinlay's Journal of Exploration in the Interior of Australia • John McKinlay

... at his watch—it was 5:30. Had there been any uncertainty as to Livingstone's return, he would have waited. But it was clear that he was coming back to dine at his hotel, and to spend the evening there. A note, therefore, could be trusted to do the business, and by writing, instead of waiting, Mr. Smith would save half an ...
— A Border Ruffian - 1891 • Thomas A. Janvier



Words linked to "Uncertainty" :   quality, indefinity, indeterminacy, skepticism, fortuitousness, suspense, cognitive state, improbability, certainty, mental rejection, reservation, question, indecisiveness, unpredictability, disbelief, misgiving, suspicion, precariousness, incertitude, indetermination, peradventure, indecision, arriere pensee, mental reservation, improbableness, indefiniteness, mistrust, speculativeness, state of mind, irresolution, indeterminateness, incredulity, dubiousness, distrust



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