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  1. of doubtful propriety, honesty, morality, respectability, etc.: questionable activities; in questionable taste.
  2. open to question or dispute; doubtful or uncertain: a statement of questionable accuracy.
  3. open to question as to being of the nature or value suggested: a questionable privilege.

Origin of questionable

First recorded in 1580–90; question + -able
Related formsques·tion·a·ble·ness, ques·tion·a·bil·i·ty, nounques·tion·a·bly, adverb

Synonyms for questionable

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Antonyms for questionable Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for questionably

Historical Examples of questionably

  • His powers and purposes are questionably beneficent, at best.

    Doctor Grimshawe's Secret

    Nathaniel Hawthorne

  • Plumage exactly like that of Kumlien Gull and questionably a new species.

    The Bird Book

    Chester A. Reed

  • But, except to the insatiables of "what happened next," these parts are as questionably important as they are decidedly doubtful.

  • Long, however, ere they reached Ostia, the night had fallen; and their situation began to be more than questionably safe.


    Charles Kingsley

  • It may be observed that, in a Fragment, he questionably personifies Pelasgus.

British Dictionary definitions for questionably


  1. (esp of a person's morality or honesty) admitting of some doubt; dubious
  2. of disputable value or authoritya questionable text
Derived Formsquestionableness or questionability, nounquestionably, adverb
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 questionably



1580s, "that may be interrogated;" c.1600, "open to dispute, doubtful," from question (v.) + -able. Deprecatory sense of "dubious in character" is attested from 1806. Related: Questionably.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper