See more synonyms for doubt on
verb (used with object)
  1. to be uncertain about; consider questionable or unlikely; hesitate to believe.
  2. to distrust.
  3. Archaic. to fear; be apprehensive about.
verb (used without object)
  1. to be uncertain about something; be undecided in opinion or belief.
  1. a feeling of uncertainty about the truth, reality, or nature of something.
  2. distrust.
  3. a state of affairs such as to occasion uncertainty.
  4. Obsolete. fear; dread.
  1. beyond 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. probably.
    2. certainly: There is no doubt an element of truth in what you say.
  4. 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

See more synonyms for on

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. 2018

Related Words for doubter

skeptic, questioner, cynic, agnostic, unbeliever, zetetic

Examples from the Web for doubter

Contemporary Examples of doubter

  • Boehner, Congressmen Kevin McCarthy and Paul Ryan "are all calling around to ask for support on the deal," observes a doubter.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The GOP's Tax Deal Jitters

    John Batchelor

    December 14, 2010

Historical Examples of doubter

  • A doubter disappeared one day from the cloister, and no one ever knew what became of him.

    Legends of the Rhine

    Wilhelm Ruland

  • It ought to be published together with a prcis of the doubter's answers, which were verbal.

    Allan's Wife

    H. Rider Haggard

  • But I'm a doubter, and a mocker, and a failure, and Phillida knows it.

    The Faith Doctor

    Edward Eggleston

  • A tube and a hole in the floor, may be; its well done, though, said the doubter.

  • Again, the Church is justified in cautioning the doubter not to be proud of his doubt as a doubt.

    The Arena


British Dictionary definitions for doubter


  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 somethingall 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 fear
  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 disbelieveI doubt we are late
  2. (tr) to distrust or be suspicious ofhe doubted their motives
  3. (intr) to feel uncertainty or be undecided
  4. (tr; may take a clause as object) Scot to be inclined to believe
  5. (tr) archaic to fear
  6. 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



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 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.