View synonyms for doubt


[ dout ]

verb (used with object)

  1. to be uncertain about; consider questionable or unlikely; hesitate to believe:

    The police have good reason to doubt his alibi.

    Synonyms: question, suspect, mistrust

  2. to distrust; regard with suspicion:

    I doubted the salesman, so we decided to check with other dealers.

    Synonyms: question, suspect, mistrust

  3. Archaic. to fear; be apprehensive about.

verb (used without object)

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

    The priest told me that it was normal to doubt, but encouraged me to nurture my faith.


  1. a feeling of uncertainty about the truth, reality, or nature of something:

    We all had our doubts about your mysterious Canadian girlfriend since no one has ever seen her in person.

    Synonyms: irresolution, indecision

  2. distrust or suspicion:

    Voters naturally held some doubt about the abrupt change in policy direction issued by city hall.

  3. a general feeling of uncertainty, worry, or concern: Set your doubts aside, and listen to my business idea with an open mind.

    As soon as I'd dropped out of school to become a full-time musician, I was full of doubt—what if I’d made a terrible mistake?

    Set your doubts aside, and listen to my business idea with an open mind.

  4. a state of affairs such as to occasion uncertainty.
  5. Obsolete. fear; dread.


/ daʊt /


  1. uncertainty about the truth, fact, or existence of something (esp in the phrases in doubt, without doubt, beyond a shadow of doubt, etc)
  2. often plural lack of belief in or conviction about something

    all his doubts about the project disappeared

  3. an unresolved difficulty, point, etc
  4. 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
  5. obsolete.
  6. give someone the benefit of the doubt
    to presume someone suspected of guilt to be innocent; judge leniently
  7. no doubt
    almost certainly


  1. tr; may take a clause as object to be inclined to disbelieve

    I doubt we are late

  2. tr to distrust or be suspicious of

    he doubted their motives

  3. intr to feel uncertainty or be undecided
  4. tr; may take a clause as object to be inclined to believe
  5. archaic.
    tr to fear
  6. I wouldn't doubt someone
    I would expect nothing else from someone
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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.
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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
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Derived Forms

  • ˈdoubtably, adverb
  • ˈdoubtingly, adverb
  • ˈdoubter, noun
  • ˈdoubtable, adjective
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Other Words From

  • doubt·a·ble adjective
  • doubt·a·bly adverb
  • doubt·er noun
  • doubt·ing·ly adverb
  • doubt·ing·ness noun
  • non·doubt·a·ble adjective
  • non·doubt·er noun
  • non·doubt·ing adjective
  • non·doubt·ing·ly adverb
  • o·ver·doubt verb (used with object)
  • pre·doubt noun verb
  • pre·doubt·er noun
  • un·doubt·a·ble adjective
  • un·doubt·ing adjective
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Word History and Origins

Origin of doubt1

First recorded in 1175–1225; Middle English verb douten, duten, doubten, from Old French douter, doter “to doubt, be doubtful,” from Latin dubitāre “to waver, hesitate, be uncertain” (frequentative of Old Latin dubāre ), equivalent to dub- “doubt” + -it- frequentative suffix + -āre infinitive suffix; noun derivative of the verb. The -b- first appears between 1420–30 in imitation of Latin dubit-
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Word History and Origins

Origin of doubt1

C13: from Old French douter, from Latin dubitāre
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Idioms and Phrases

  1. beyond a / the shadow of a doubt, with certainty; definitely. Also beyond a doubt, beyond doubt.
  2. in doubt, in a state of uncertainty or suspense:

    His appointment to the position is still in doubt.

  3. no doubt,
    1. certainly:

      There is no doubt an element of truth in what you say.

  4. without doubt, unquestionably; certainly.

More idioms and phrases containing doubt

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

When you’re concerned with all things at one time, things become less obvious — and that’s what constitutes doubt.

I mention this not to sow doubt in your mind, not to scare you, but rather to prepare you.

From Fortune

It’s thrown her dreams of opening a full-service dine-in restaurant or a franchising strategy into doubt.

Explaining the reasoning behind each data point and action in your SEO proposal, and arguing from first principles, should leave less room for doubt and more for critical thinking.

Without a doubt, there’s a link between the sound and meaning for animals.

And, in the case of fluoride, at least, that doubt might actually be justified.

Stephanie Giorgio, a classical musician, credits The Class for helping her cope with anxiety, focus, fear, and self-doubt.

He no doubt had heard by then that some of the cops had ignored his request and turned their backs.

Their confrontation at dinner was, without a doubt, the highlight of the episode.

But self-doubt, while a healthy quality for human beings to have, is alas not a plus for politicians.

There was no doubt thought of his own loss in this question: yet there was, one may hope, a germ of solicitude for the mother too.

Elyon is the name of an ancient Phœnician god, slain by his son El, no doubt the “first-born of death” in Job xviii.

The patache was never seen again, and there is not much doubt that it was lost with all hands on board.

Her feet felt rooted to the floor in the wonder and doubt of this strange occurrence.

But I doubt if he feels any particular emotion himself, when he is piercing you through with his rendering.


Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

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