[doo-bee-uhs, dyoo-]


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.

Origin of dubious

1540–50; < Latin dubius; see -ous
Related formsdu·bi·ous·ly, adverbdu·bi·ous·ness, nounsu·per·du·bi·ous, adjectivesu·per·du·bi·ous·ly, adverbsu·per·du·bi·ous·ness, nounun·du·bi·ous, adjectiveun·du·bi·ous·ly, adverbun·du·bi·ous·ness, noun

Synonyms for dubious

Synonym study

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

Related Words for dubiously

suspiciously, indecisively

Examples from the Web for dubiously

Contemporary Examples of dubiously

  • The arts world is fuming over Obama's dubiously qualified "arts czar," and a humanities appointee who lacks a college degree.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Obama Stiffs the Arts

    Judith H. Dobrzynski

    March 25, 2009

Historical Examples of dubiously

British Dictionary definitions for dubiously



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 dubiously



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