verb (used with object)

verb (used without object)

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


Nearby words

  1. doubloon,
  2. doublure,
  3. doubly,
  4. doubly armed suture,
  5. doubs,
  6. doubter,
  7. doubtful,
  8. doubtfully,
  9. doubting thomas,
  10. doubtless


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 forms

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

Examples from the Web for doubter

British Dictionary definitions for doubter



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 doubter
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with doubter


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.