[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

Examples from the Web for dubiousness

Contemporary Examples of dubiousness

Historical Examples of dubiousness

  • In a few words he told her of his despair and of the dubiousness of his position.

    Cleo The Magnificent

    Louis Zangwill

  • Diogenes eyed her with a dubiousness that soon became certainty.

    The Proud Prince

    Justin Huntly McCarthy

  • This time she was sure that no dubiousness lurked beneath his tone.

    A Veldt Official

    Bertram Mitford

  • Mr. Bennett contemplated him with just a tinge of dubiousness in his look.

  • It is unnecessary to point out the dubiousness of this theory!

    South America

    W. H. Koebel

British Dictionary definitions for dubiousness



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 dubiousness



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