uncertainty


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uncertainty

noun ambiguity, ambivalence, chance, confusion, contingency, darkness, desultoriness, dilemma, dimness, doubt, doubtfulness, dubiousness, equivocation, faintness, feebleness, gamble, hazard, hesitancy, hesitation, improbability, incertitude, inconstancy, incredulity, indefiniteness, indetermination, insecurity, instability, irresolution, jeopardy, misgiving, obscurity, peril, possibility, precariousness, qualm, quandary, reluctance, risk, shadowiness, speculation, suspense, undependability, unevenness, unpredictability, unreliability, unsteadiness, vacillation, vagueness, wavering, weakness
See also: ambiguity, ambivalence, chance, confusion, contingency, dilemma, doubt, hazard, hesitation, improbability, incertitude, incredulity, indecision, jeopardy, misgiving, peril, possibility, qualm, quandary, reluctance, risk, scruple, speculation, venture

CERTAINTY, UNCERTAINTY, contracts. In matters of obligation, a thing is certain, when its essence, quality, and quantity, are described, distinctly set forth, Dig. 12, 1, 6. It is uncertain, when the description is not that of one individual object, but designates only the kind. Louis. Code, art. 3522, No. 8 5 Co. 121. Certainty is the mother of repose, and therefore the law aims at certainty. 1 Dick. 245. Act of the 27th of July, 1789, ii. 2, 1 Story's Laws, 6. His compensation for his servicer, shall not exceed two thousand dollars per annum. Gordon's Dig. art. 211.
     2. If a contract be so vague in its terms, that its meaning cannot be certainly collected, and the statute of frauds preclude the admissibility of parol evidence to clear up the difficulty; 5 Barn. & Cr. 588; S. C. 12 Eng. Com. L. R. 827; or parol evidence cannot supply the defect, then neither at law, nor in equity, can effect be given to it. 1 Russ. & M. 116; 1 Ch. Pr. 123.
     3. It is a maxim of law, that, that is certain which may be made certain; certum est quod certum reddi potest Co. Litt. 43; for example, when a man sells the oil he has in his store at so much a gallon, although there is uncertainty as to the quantity of oil, yet inasmuch as it can be ascertained, the maxim applies, and the sale is good. Vide generally, Story, Eq. El. Sec. 240 to 256; Mitf. Pl. by Jeremy, 41; Coop. Eq. Pl. 5; Wigr. on Disc. 77.

UNCERTAINTY. That which is unknown or vague. Vide Certainty.

References in classic literature ?
And when she died--I believe broken-hearted-- having never slackened her unavailing search for your father, she left you, at two years old, to grow to be blooming, beautiful, and happy, without the dark cloud upon you of living in uncertainty whether your father soon wore his heart out in prison, or wasted there through many lingering years.
I am inclined to believe, from my uncertainty on this head, that it was six at first and seven afterwards.
A tremulous uncertainty of the action of all her limbs soon became a part of her regular state, and afterwards, at intervals of two or three months, she would often put her hands to her head, and would then remain for about a week at a time in some gloomy aberration of mind.
But by this time Godfrey's interest in the robbery had faded before his growing anxiety about Dunstan and Wildfire, and he was going, not to Tarley, but to Batherley, unable to rest in uncertainty about them any longer.
We plied along the coast in this uncertainty two days, till on the first of March having doubled a point of land, which came out a great way into the sea, we found ourselves in the middle of a fair large bay, which many reasons induced us to think was Baylur; that we might be farther assured we sent our Abyssin on shore, who returning next morning confirmed our opinion.
The censure of a bad appointment, on account of the uncertainty of its author, and for want of a determinate object, has neither poignancy nor duration.
In a society under the forms of which the stronger faction can readily unite and oppress the weaker, anarchy may as truly be said to reign as in a state of nature, where the weaker individual is not secured against the violence of the stronger; and as, in the latter state, even the stronger individuals are prompted, by the uncertainty of their condition, to submit to a government which may protect the weak as well as themselves; so, in the former state, will the more powerful factions or parties be gradnally induced, by a like motive, to wish for a government which will protect all parties, the weaker as well as the more powerful.
That these man-like creatures were in truth only bestial monsters, mere grotesque travesties of men, filled me with a vague uncertainty of their possibilities which was far worse than any definite fear.
And now, my dear auditors, I must confess that there are contradictory statements and some uncertainty about the adventures of the chair for a period of almost ten years.
Blundering along in this region of mist and uncertainty, they were frequently obliged to make long circuits, to avoid obstacles which they could not perceive until close upon them.
The agitations of jealousy had given a new restlessness to his passion--had made fear and uncertainty too hard almost to bear.
I should have mentioned that shortly after Toby's disappearance, perceiving the uncertainty of the time I might be obliged to remain in the valley--if, indeed, I ever should escape from it--and considering that my whole wardrobe consisted of a shirt and a pair of trousers, I resolved to doff these garments at once, in order to preserve them in a suitable condition for wear should I again appear among civilized beings.