Previous: incertumNext: incessabilis


incertus, a, um (archaic gen. plur. incertūm, Pac. ap. Non. 495, 27), adj. [2. incertus; hence, acc. to certus].

I. Object., of things whose (external or internal) qualities are not firmly established, uncertain, unsettled, doubtful, untrustworthy, not fast, not firm (class.): amicus certus in re incerta cernitur, Enn. ap. Cic. Lael. 17, 64 (Trag. v. 428 Vahl.); cf. id. ap. Non. 166, 22 (Trag. v. 12 Vahl.): incerti socii an hostes essent, Liv. 30, 35, 9: incertus (infans) masculus an femina esset, id. 31, 12, 6; cf. Sall. J. 49, 5: cum incerta bellum an pax cum Celtiberis essent, Liv. 34, 19, 8 Weissenb.: spe incerta certum mihi laborem sustuli, Ter. Hec. prol. alt. 9; id. And. 2, 3, 16: nuptiae, id. ib. 5, 1, 11: aetas (puerilis) maxime lubrica atque incerta, Cic. Verr. 2, 5, 52, 137: itinera, Caes. B. G. 5, 37 fin.: dominatus, Cic. Rep. 1, 17: status, id. ib. 1, 26: sedes, Sall. C. 6, 1: ambiguae testis incertaeque rei, Juv. 8, 81: comarum Anulus incertā non bene fixus acu, not fast, Mart. 2, 66, 2: colligere incertos et in ordine ponere crines, dishevelled, Ov. Am. 1, 11, 1: per incertam lunam sub luce maligna, not clearly visible, dim, Verg. A. 6, 270: soles, id. ib. 3, 203: securis, that did not strike with a sure blow, id. ib. 2, 224: vultus, disturbed, uneasy, Sall. J. 106, 2: ille vitam suam ad incertissimam spem reservavit, Cic. Sest. 22, 50: arbori incertae nullam prudentia cani Rectoris cum ferret opem, the ship uncertain in her course, because no longer obeying the helm, Juv. 12, 32 Halm. — In neutr. ellipt.: clauserant portas incertum vi an voluntate, Liv. 31, 41, 2; 31, 43, 7 al.Neutr. as adv. (poet.): incertum vigilans, Ov. H. 10, 9; Stat. Th. 5, 212. —

II. Subject., as respects one's perceptions or convictions, not firmly established, uncertain, undetermined, doubtful, dubious (so most freq. in prose and poetry): nihil est incertius vulgo, Cic. Mur. 17, 36: casus, id. Or. 28, 98: ut alia certa, alia incerta esse dicunt, id. Off. 2, 2, 7; cf.: est igitur ridiculum, quod est dubium, id relinquere incertum, id. Mur. 32, 68; and: incerta atque dubia, Plin. 17, 1, 1, 9 fin.: ut incertis temporibus diversisque itineribus iretur, Caes. B. G. 7, 16 fin.; so, eventus reliqui temporis, Cic. Quint. 26, 83: exitus pugnarum, id. Mil. 21, 56: adulterium, Quint. 7, 2, 52: auctor, id. 5, 11, 41: cujus ora puellares faciunt incerta capilli, make the sex doubtful, Juv. 15, 137: incerta persona heres institui non potest, Ulp. Fragm. 22, 4; Gai. Inst. 2, 242; cf. 2, 238.—

(b). With rel. or interrog.-clause: nunc mihi incertumst, abeam an maneam, Plaut. Aul. 4, 9, 19: moriendum certe est, et id incertum, an hoc ipso die, Cic. Sen. 20, 74; cf. Quint. 1, 6, 27: (Gallus) avem, an gentem, an nomen, an fortunam corporis significet, incertum est, id. 7, 9, 2: confessus est quidem sed incertum, utrum quia verum erat, an quia, etc., Plin. Ep. 4, 11, 5: neque plane occultati humilitate arborum et tamen incerti, quidnam esset, Sall. J. 49, 5 Kritz.—Abl. absol.: multi annantes navibus incerto prae tenebris, quid aut peterent aut vitarent, foede interierunt, Liv. 28, 36, 12.—

2. Subst.: incer-tum, i, n., an uncertainty: quicquid incerti mihi in animo prius aut ambiguum fuit, Nunc liquet, nunc defaecatum est, Plaut. Ps. 2, 4, 69: ne cujus incerti vanique auctor esset, Liv. 4, 13, 9: incerta maris et tempestatum, Tac. A. 3, 54: incerta fortunae experiri, Plin. Ep. 3, 19, 4: incerta belli, Liv. 30, 2: bona, fortunae possessionesque omnium in dubium incertumque revocabuntur, Cic. Caecin. 27, 76; cf. id. ib. 13, 38: Minucius praefectus annonae in incertum creatus, for an indefinite time, Liv. 4, 13, 7: postremo fugere an manere tutius foret, in incerto erat, Sall. J. 38, 5: Allobroges diu in incerto habuere, quidnam consilii caperent, id. C. 41, 1; cf. id. J. 46, 8: imperia ducum in incerto reliquerat, Tac. H. 2, 33 fin.

B. Transf., of a person who is in a state of uncertainty respecting any thing, uncertain, in uncertainty, hesitating, doubtful: quo ego ope mea Pro incertis certos compotesque consili Dimitto, Enn. ap. Cic. de Or. 1, 45, 199 (Trag. v. 188 Vahl.): nolo suspensam et incertam plebem Romanam obscura spe et caeca exspectatione pendere, Cic. Agr. 2, 25, 66; so, varius incertusque agitabat, Sall. J. 74, 1; Plaut. Ep. 3, 4, 3: ego certe me incerto scio hoc daturum nemini homini, id. As. 2, 4, 60.—

(b). With rel.-clause: quid dicam hisce, incertus sum, Ter. Hec. 3, 4, 36: cum incertus essem, ubi esses, Cic. Att. 1, 9, 1: incerti ignarique, quid potissimum facerent, Sall. J. 67, 1: incerti quidnam esset, id. ib. 49, 5: incertus, quonam modo aciem instrueret, id. ib. 101, 2: incerti, quo fata ferant, ubi sistere detur, Verg. A. 3, 7: incertus, Geniumne loci famulumne parentis Esse putet, id. ib. 5, 95: faber, incertus scamnum faceretne Priapum, Hor. S. 1, 8, 2.—

(g). With gen. (not in Cic.): summarum rerum incerti, Enn. ap. Cic. de Or. 1, 45, 199 (Trag. v. 187 Vahl.): incertusque meae paene salutis eram, Ov. Tr. 3, 3, 4: sententiae, Liv. 4, 57, 3: veri, id. 4, 23, 3; 1, 27, 6: rerum, id. 24, 24, 9: ultionis, Tac. A. 2, 75: sui, Stat. Th. 5, 525: naves incertae locorum, Auct. B. Afr. 7: mox incertus animi, fesso corpore, etc., Tac. A. 6, 46; id. H. 3, 55 fin.: futurorum, Plin. Ep. 9, 13, 11: consilii, Curt. 8, 10, 27.—

(d). With abl.: incerti metu, Val. Fl. 3, 602.—(ε) With de and abl.: incertus de salute alicujus, Plin. Ep. 6, 20, 10.—Hence, adv. in two forms: incertē and incerto (both ante-class.), uncertainly, not certainly, dubiously: incerte errat animus, Enn. ap. Gell. 19, 10, 12 (Trag. v. 259 Vahl.): vagat exsul, Pac. ap. Non. 467, 25 (Trag. Rel. p. 87 Rib.): ubi Habitet dum incerto scio, Plaut. Ep. 3, 4, 69: incerto scio, id. Ps. 4, 2, 7: incerto autumo, id. Ep. 4, 1, 18.