View synonyms for dubious


[ doo-bee-uhs, dyoo- ]


  1. doubtful; marked by or occasioning doubt:

    a dubious reply.

    Synonyms: unclear, obscure, ambiguous, equivocal

  2. of doubtful quality or propriety; questionable:

    a dubious compliment; a dubious transaction.

  3. of uncertain outcome:

    in dubious battle.

  4. wavering or hesitating in opinion; inclined to doubt.

    Synonyms: hesitant, uncertain, undecided


/ ˈdjuːbɪəs /


  1. marked by or causing doubt

    a dubious reply

  2. unsettled in mind; uncertain; doubtful
  3. of doubtful quality; untrustworthy

    a dubious reputation

  4. not certain in outcome
“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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Derived Forms

  • ˈdubiously, adverb
  • ˈdubiousness, noun
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Other Words From

  • dubi·ous·ly adverb
  • dubi·ous·ness noun
  • super·dubi·ous adjective
  • super·dubi·ous·ly adverb
  • super·dubi·ous·ness noun
  • un·dubi·ous adjective
  • un·dubi·ous·ly adverb
  • un·dubi·ous·ness noun
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Word History and Origins

Origin of dubious1

First recorded in 1540–50; from Latin dubius; doubt ( def )
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Word History and Origins

Origin of dubious1

C16: from Latin dubius wavering
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Synonym Study

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Example Sentences

Now Uber is objecting to the proposed terms of his bankruptcy, arguing that he used legally dubious techniques to shelter his wealth from creditors.

From top models to Hollywood celebrities and YouTube vloggers, they’re recruiting social media influencers to whitewash their dubious records.

From Ozy

He’s achieved this dubious distinction by scoring negative favorability ratings among both parties.

Hawley and others who objected to the preference of Pennsylvania’s voters are building on the dubious foundation Rehnquist established in that case.

The sequel follows Ellie, all grown up and still immune to the virus that has transformed much of humanity into zombies, as she struggles with the consequences of a morally dubious decision made by her father figure Joel in the first game.

From Time

Domestically, the prime minister maintains the dubious line that he is the only man who can keep the still-fragile peace.

Krivov was arrested in October 2012, on the dubious charges of participation in “mass riots.”

We kindly inform these little jokers with the dubious jokes that they risk judicial proceedings they may not find funny at all.

The Louisiana university has turned into a nanny state, issuing a campus smoking ban of dubious legality.

The British detectives have since interviewed countless witnesses and cleared a number of dubious suspects in the case.

Her manner amazed him; it was so unlike the aspect of fair interpretation, with which she usually discussed a dubious subject.

Each of them was chuck full of that dubious sort of pride that has busted up more than one love-fiesta.

He looked upon her bright face, a dubious expression flittering over his own.

They were a little dubious about the night and its outcome, but all agreed it would be highly exciting.

Eddie said nothing, but looked very dubious, for the widow was not liked by the boys.