verb (used with object)

verb (used without object)

to be uncertain about something; be undecided in opinion or belief.



    beyond the shadow of a doubt, with certainty; definitely.Also beyond a doubt, beyond doubt.
    in doubt, in a state of uncertainty or suspense: His appointment to the position is still in doubt.
    no doubt,
    1. probably.
    2. certainly: There is no doubt an element of truth in what you say.
    without doubt, unquestionably; certainly.

Origin of doubt

1175–1225; (v.) Middle English douten < Anglo-French, Old French douter < Latin dubitāre to waver, hesitate, be uncertain (frequentative of OL dubāre), equivalent to dub- doubt + -it- frequentative suffix + -āre infinitive suffix; (noun) Middle English doute < Anglo-French, Old French, derivative of the v.
Related formsdoubt·a·ble, adjectivedoubt·a·bly, adverbdoubt·er, noundoubt·ing·ly, adverbdoubt·ing·ness, nounnon·doubt·a·ble, adjectivenon·doubt·er, nounnon·doubt·ing, adjectivenon·doubt·ing·ly, adverbo·ver·doubt, verb (used with object)pre·doubt, noun, verbpre·doubt·er, nounun·doubt·a·ble, adjectiveun·doubt·ing, adjective

Synonyms for doubt

Usage note

Doubt and doubtful may be followed by a subordinate clause beginning with that, whether, or if: I doubt that (or whether or if ) the story is true. It is doubtful that (or whether or if ) the story is true. There is some doubt that (or whether or if ) the story is true. In negative or interrogative sentences, that almost always introduces the subordinate clause: I do not doubt that the story is true. Is it doubtful that the story is true? Is there any doubt that the story is true?
The expressions doubt but and doubt but that occur in all varieties of standard speech and writing: I don't doubt but she is sincere. There is no doubt but that the charges will affect his career. Doubt but what occurs mainly in informal speech and writing: There is no doubt but what the rainy weather will hurt the crops. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for beyond a doubt



uncertainty about the truth, fact, or existence of something (esp in the phrases in doubt, without doubt, beyond a shadow of doubt, etc)
(often plural) lack of belief in or conviction about somethingall his doubts about the project disappeared
an unresolved difficulty, point, etc
philosophy the methodical device, esp in the philosophy of Descartes, of identifying certain knowledge as the residue after rejecting any proposition which might, however improbably, be false
obsolete fear
give someone the benefit of the doubt to presume someone suspected of guilt to be innocent; judge leniently
no doubt almost certainly


(tr; may take a clause as object) to be inclined to disbelieveI doubt we are late
(tr) to distrust or be suspicious ofhe doubted their motives
(intr) to feel uncertainty or be undecided
(tr; may take a clause as object) Scot to be inclined to believe
(tr) archaic to fear
I wouldn't doubt someone Irish I would expect nothing else from someone
Derived Formsdoubtable, adjectivedoubtably, adverbdoubter, noundoubtingly, adverb

Word Origin for doubt

C13: from Old French douter, from Latin dubitāre


Where a clause follows doubt in a positive sentence, it was formerly considered correct to use whether (I doubt whether he will come ), but now if and that are also acceptable. In negative statements, doubt is followed by that: I do not doubt that he is telling the truth. In such sentences, but (I do not doubt but that he is telling the truth) is redundant
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

Word Origin and History for beyond a doubt



early 13c., "to dread, fear," from Old French doter "doubt, be doubtful; be afraid," from Latin dubitare "to doubt, question, hesitate, waver in opinion" (related to dubius "uncertain;" see dubious), originally "to have to choose between two things."

The sense of "fear" developed in Old French and was passed on to English. Meaning "to be uncertain" is attested in English from c.1300. The -b- was restored 14c. by scribes in imitation of Latin. Replaced Old English tweogan (noun twynung), from tweon "two," on notion of "of two minds" or the choice of two implied in Latin dubitare (cf. German Zweifel "doubt," from zwei "two").



early 13c., from Old French dote (11c.) "fear, dread; doubt," from doter (see doubt (v.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with beyond a doubt

beyond a doubt

Also, beyond the shadow of a doubt. Certainly so, undoubtedly so, as in Beyond a doubt this is the best view of the valley. This phrase, along with the earlier without doubt (dating from c. 1300), asserts the truth of some statement. W.S. Gilbert's version, in The Gondoliers (1889), is: “Of that there is no manner of doubt—no probable, possible shadow of doubt—no possible doubt whatever.” In this context shadow means “a trace or slight suggestion.” Another variant is beyond a reasonable doubt. This phrase is often used in court when the judge instructs the jury that they must be convinced of the accused's guilt or innocence beyond a reasonable doubt; reasonable here means “logical and rational.” Also see beyond question; no doubt.


see beyond a doubt; cast doubt on; give the benefit of the doubt; no doubt; shadow of a doubt.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.