A noun for something that you cannot prove; something you can never be sure of actually happening/being real?

closed as off-topic by Tushar Raj, michael.hor257k, Lawrence, tmgr, AmE speaker Jan 9 at 3:47

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  • "Questions on choosing an ideal word or phrase must include information on how it will be used in order to be answered. For help writing a good word or phrase request, see: About single word requests" – Tushar Raj, michael.hor257k, Lawrence, tmgr, AmE speaker
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    Hi, thanks for visting the EL&U. Please click throhg on the single-word-requests tag and read up on the Tag info and edit your question to include the required information and sample sentence. – Spagirl Jan 8 at 17:35
  • I posted an answer with the word "unknown", as it's listed as a noun in all dictionaries. Then I realised that an unknown may become known in the future, so I deleted my answer. However the other answers also allow for discovery, which is a possibility you excluded in your request, "something you can never be sure of actually happening/being real" – Zebrafish Jan 8 at 20:22
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    @Zebrafish I've voted to put this question on hold for lack of context, but if you wanted to push your answer to include the never part, "(an) unknowable" could be pressed into service as a noun. – Lawrence Jan 9 at 0:22
  • @Lawrence Yes, I first thought of "unknowable", I was going to give it as an answer with the caveat that it's only listed in one online dictionary as a noun. I went with "unknown" given that it's in every dictionary, except I lost sight of the actual question, haha. – Zebrafish Jan 9 at 0:38

One of the many synonymous is uncertainty.

  • Should've clarified that I'm looking for a noun, sorry. – noam b Jan 8 at 17:19
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    Edited so the word is now a noun. – krobelusmeetsyndra Jan 8 at 17:25
  • Thanks man, with your help - "practical uncertainty" is probably what I was looking for. – noam b Jan 8 at 18:14

I tend to think incertitude is up to the task without the bulky feeling.




in·​cer·​ti·​tude | (ˌ)in-ˈsər-tə-ˌtüd, -ˌtyüd\

Definition of incertitude


a : absence of assurance or confidence : DOUBT

b : the quality or state of being unstable or insecure

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    Hi Jackspace, welcome to EL&U. This isn't a bad start, but it's too short: the system has flagged it as "low-quality because of its length and content." An answer on EL&U is expected to be authoritative, detailed, and explain why it is correct. Can I suggest you edit your answer to provide more information - e.g., add a published definition of incertitude (linked to the source) and why it's the best fit? For further guidance, see How to Answer. :-) – Chappo Jan 8 at 22:28

Consider inscrutability, which is the noun form of inscrutable:

Impossible to understand or interpret.
Oxford Living Dictionaries

It's mostly used to describe people that are difficult to understand, but it can be applied generally as well. Consider this second definition source:

the quality of being impossible to investigate
“the inscrutability of the future”

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