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Indefinitely vs. Definitely — What's the Difference?

Edited by Tayyaba Rehman — By Urooj Arif — Updated on March 19, 2024
Indefinitely signifies an unspecified period of time, without a predetermined end, while definitely expresses certainty or a conclusive nature.
Indefinitely vs. Definitely — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Indefinitely and Definitely


Key Differences

Indefinitely refers to something that has no set limits or end point in time or extent, suggesting that an action, condition, or situation might continue without a foreseeable conclusion. Definitely, on the other hand, conveys a sense of assurance, clarity, and specificity, indicating that something is clearly defined or absolutely certain.
Indefinitely often implies a sense of uncertainty or openness about the duration or outcome of a situation, leaving things open-ended. Definitely conveys conviction and leaves no room for doubt or ambiguity, emphasizing that something is firmly established or agreed upon.
When used in communication, stating something will happen indefinitely suggests that it could persist for an unknown length of time, often until further notice or until certain conditions change. Saying something will definitely happen underscores the speaker's confidence and commitment to the occurrence or truth of the statement.
The use of indefinitely can create a sense of ambiguity or flexibility, indicating that plans or situations may be subject to change based on future developments. The use of definitely, however, provides a sense of closure and finality, making it clear that the matter is settled or the outcome is assured.
While indefinitely might often be associated with situations that are temporary but with an unspecified end date, definitely is used to confirm facts, decisions, or intentions, providing clarity and reducing misunderstanding.

Comparison Chart


Without a fixed or definite limit; not clearly defined.
Clearly stated or decided; without doubt.


Uncertain duration or open-endedness.
Certainty, clarity, and assurance.

Usage Context

Describes actions or conditions with uncertain endpoints.
Conveys assurance and specificity about conditions or events.


"The project is postponed indefinitely."
"The event will definitely take place next Friday."


Suggests flexibility and the possibility of change.
Indicates commitment and a definitive stance.

Compare with Definitions


May continue forever, but without a current definite end.
The law may be enforced indefinitely if not challenged.


With no doubt or possibility of change.
The conference will definitely occur next month.


Continuing for an unknown or unstated length of time.
The exhibition has been extended indefinitely.


Leaving no room for doubt or confusion.
He definitely said he would join us for dinner.


Without a predetermined conclusion or limit.
Access to the facility will remain restricted indefinitely.


A resolved or concluded decision.
We are definitely moving to a new office by year-end.


Awaiting additional information or decisions.
The decision has been delayed indefinitely.


Used to strongly agree with someone or something.
I definitely think that's the right choice.


Continues under certain conditions, without a set end.
The support will be provided indefinitely, as long as funds are available.


Clearly defined or determined.
She is definitely the best candidate for the job.


For an unlimited or unspecified period of time
Talks cannot go on indefinitely


Clearly defined; explicitly precise
A definite statement of the terms of the will.


Unclear; vague.


Forthright and unambiguous
The doctor was very definite about what foods you should avoid.


Lacking precise limits
An indefinite leave of absence.


Clearly developed or firmly decided
No definite idea of what to do for a career.


Uncertain; undecided
Indefinite about their plans.


Readily distinguished or certain
At a definite disadvantage.


In a manner that is not definite.
An indefinitely determined fossil


(Grammar) Limiting or particularizing.


For a long time, with no defined end.


Of a fixed number usually less than 20, as certain floral organs, especially stamens.




Cymose; determinate.


In an indefinite manner or degree; without any settled limitation; vaguely; not with certainty or exactness; as, to use a word indefinitely.
If the world be indefinitely extended, that is, so far as no human intellect can fancy any bound of it.


Without question and beyond doubt.
Joe definitely doesn't know how to drive a tractor.
She said she wasn't coming, definitely.


To an indefinite extent; for an indefinite time;
This could go on indefinitely


In a definite manner; decisively.


In a definite manner; with precision; precisely; determinately.


Without question and beyond doubt;
It was decidedly too expensive
She told him off in spades
By all odds they should win

Common Curiosities

How does "indefinitely" impact plans?

It introduces uncertainty, suggesting plans are subject to change and might not have a fixed timeline.

Is "definitely" a promise?

It can be seen as a strong assurance or commitment, similar to a promise, due to its certainty.

Does "definitely" remove doubt?

Yes, it's used to express certainty and remove any ambiguity about a statement or plan.

How do "indefinitely" and "definitely" affect decision-making?

"Indefinitely" may delay decisions due to uncertainty, while "definitely" supports decisive action by providing certainty.

How should one communicate when using "indefinitely"?

Clearly and with context, to manage expectations regarding the uncertainty of duration or outcome.

What's the best way to use "definitely" in communication?

To convey certainty and commitment, ensuring the recipient understands the definitive nature of the statement.

Can a situation change from "indefinitely" to "definitely"?

Yes, as more information becomes available or decisions are made, uncertain situations can become definite.

Can "indefinitely" mean "forever"?

While it implies an unspecified duration, it doesn't necessarily mean forever but indicates that no end point has been determined.

Can "definitely" be used to confirm plans?

Yes, it's often used to confirm and reassure that plans or events are set and will occur as stated.

What does "postponed indefinitely" mean?

It means the event or action is delayed without a new date set, suggesting it might not happen until certain conditions are met.

How do "indefinitely" and "definitely" influence perceptions?

"Indefinitely" can lead to perceptions of indecision or flexibility, while "definitely" conveys decisiveness and reliability.

Can "definitely" be used to express agreement?

Yes, it's commonly used to strongly agree with a statement or opinion.

Why is "definitely" important in affirmations?

It strengthens the statement, making affirmations more powerful and convincing.

Can "indefinitely" be seen as negative?

It can be perceived negatively in situations where clarity and resolution are preferred.

Is it possible for something to be both "indefinitely" and "definitely"?

Not in the same context, as they represent opposite concepts of uncertainty and certainty, respectively.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Urooj Arif
Urooj is a skilled content writer at Ask Difference, known for her exceptional ability to simplify complex topics into engaging and informative content. With a passion for research and a flair for clear, concise writing, she consistently delivers articles that resonate with our diverse audience.
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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