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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 dubiousness
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • In a few words he told her of his despair and of the dubiousness of his position.

    Cleo The Magnificent

    Louis Zangwill
  • Diogenes eyed her with a dubiousness that soon became certainty.

    The Proud Prince Justin Huntly McCarthy
  • This time she was sure that no dubiousness lurked beneath his tone.

    A Veldt Official Bertram Mitford
  • Mr. Bennett contemplated him with just a tinge of dubiousness in his look.

    Roy Blakeley in the Haunted Camp

    Percy Keese Fitzhugh
  • It is unnecessary to point out the dubiousness of this theory!

    South America W. H. Koebel
  • The officer peered at him from under the brim of his hat, dubiousness writ plain on his young, good-looking face.

  • A neighboring cauldron was threatening to overflow, and this added to the dubiousness of the situation.

    Roughing It Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)
  • I did not overlook the evils of constraint and the dubiousness as to the character of the master I should choose.

    Arthur Mervyn Charles Brockden Brown
  • The marks of dubiousness and indecision which accompanied these words encouraged me in endeavouring to subdue his scruples.

    Arthur Mervyn Charles Brockden Brown
British Dictionary definitions for dubiousness


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 dubiousness



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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