[ doo-bee-uhs, dyoo- ]
/ ˈdu bi əs, ˈdyu- /


doubtful; marked by or occasioning doubt: a dubious reply.
of doubtful quality or propriety; questionable: a dubious compliment; a dubious transaction.
of uncertain outcome: in dubious battle.
wavering or hesitating in opinion; inclined to doubt.

Nearby words

  1. dubiety,
  2. dubin johnson syndrome,
  3. dubinsky,
  4. dubinsky, david,
  5. dubiosity,
  6. dubiously,
  7. dubitable,
  8. dubitation,
  9. dubitative,
  10. dublin

Origin of dubious

1540–50; < Latin dubius; see -ous

Related forms

Synonym study

4. See doubtful.

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for dubious

British Dictionary definitions for dubious


/ (ˈdjuːbɪəs) /


marked by or causing doubta dubious reply
unsettled in mind; uncertain; doubtful
of doubtful quality; untrustworthya dubious reputation
not certain in outcome
Derived Formsdubiously, adverbdubiousness, noun

Word Origin for dubious

C16: from Latin dubius wavering

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 dubious



1540s, from Latin dubiosus "doubtful," from dubium "doubt," neuter of dubius "vacillating, moving two ways, fluctuating;" figuratively "wavering in opinion, doubting, doubtful," from duo "two" (see two), with a sense of "of two minds, undecided between two things." Old English also used tweo "two" to mean "doubt." Cf. doubt (v.). Related: Dubiously; dubiousness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper