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[doo-bee-uh s, dyoo-] /ˈdu bi əs, ˈdyu-/
doubtful; marked by or occasioning doubt:
a dubious reply.
of doubtful quality or propriety; questionable:
a dubious compliment; a dubious transaction.
of uncertain outcome:
in dubious battle.
wavering or hesitating in opinion; inclined to doubt.
Origin of dubious
1540-50; < Latin dubius; see -ous
Related forms
dubiously, adverb
dubiousness, noun
superdubious, adjective
superdubiously, adverb
superdubiousness, noun
undubious, adjective
undubiously, adverb
undubiousness, noun
1. equivocal, ambiguous, obscure, unclear. 4. undecided, uncertain, hesitant, fluctuating.
Synonym Study
4. See doubtful. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for dubiously
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • "Yes," he said dubiously, glancing at the bed and the table and the ricketty washstand.

    The Foolish Lovers St. John G. Ervine
  • He indicates an imaginary abyss, which Jem stares at dubiously.

  • But this self-sacrificing proposal was dubiously received by both the ladies.

    Cap'n Dan's Daughter Joseph C. Lincoln
  • "But maybe we'd better not do too much of that," said Jeter dubiously.

    Lords of the Stratosphere Arthur J. Burks
  • "But he nearly succeeded to-night," mumbled McGuire dubiously.

    The Vagrant Duke George Gibbs
  • "I don't understand what you can suspect," she said dubiously.

    Nobody Louis Joseph Vance
  • "I find this somewhat difficult to understand," said I, dubiously.

  • He raised his eyes, saw Jukes gazing at him dubiously, and tried to illustrate his meaning.

    Typhoon Joseph Conrad
  • He went off whistling, and Belle gazed after him dubiously, yet reassured in spite of herself.

    Rim o' the World B. M. Bower
British Dictionary definitions for dubiously


marked by or causing doubt: a dubious reply
unsettled in mind; uncertain; doubtful
of doubtful quality; untrustworthy: a dubious reputation
not certain in outcome
Derived Forms
dubiously, adverb
dubiousness, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin dubius wavering
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for dubiously



1540s, from Latin dubiosus "doubtful," from dubium "doubt," neuter of dubius "vacillating, moving two ways, fluctuating;" figuratively "wavering in opinion, doubting, doubtful," from duo "two" (see two), with a sense of "of two minds, undecided between two things." Old English also used tweo "two" to mean "doubt." Cf. doubt (v.). Related: Dubiously; dubiousness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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