Simple Definition of dubious
: unsure or uncertain : feeling doubt about something
: causing doubt, uncertainty, or suspicion : likely to be bad or wrong
—used ironically in phrases like dubious honor and dubious distinction to describe something bad or undesirable as if it were an honor or achievement
Full Definition of dubious
Examples of dubious in a sentence
The recent rumbles and ruptures in the financial markets are finally making people reassess the dubious systems of credit that have arisen in the past few years. —William Safire, New York Times Magazine, 19 Aug. 2007
Thus, the translation of the Latin word biographus as “a biography,” and the limitation of “biographies” to written, printed histories of men, was perhaps inevitable. Poor Dryden was given the dubious honor of being the first to use the generic term—despite the fact that his phrase had been taken out of the context of biographical compilers, in a discussion of Plutarch. —Nigel Hamilton, Biography, 2007
That indeed is the crux of the matter. Today especially, when community-oriented policing is being introduced everywhere, it seems not only ethically dubious but self-defeating to engage in practices that at their best undermine trust and cooperation between citizens and law-enforcement officials and at their worst foster cynicism toward our legal system. —Edwin Dobb, Harper's, May 2002
To avoid fees, the new “relationship” minimum for checking accounts jumped from $2000 to as much as $6000. And what would customers get in exchange? The ability to take advantage of such a dubious new benefit as a consolidated monthly statement. —Consumer Reports, March 1996
He made the highly dubious claim that Elvis is still alive and living in Hawaii.
a man of dubious character
Did You Know?
Dubious derives from the Latin verb dubare, meaning "to hesitate in choice of opinions or courses," and it is related to the Latin word for "two": duo. Dubious can be used to indicate uncertainty about the result of an action or the truth of a statement as well as about the uncertainty of a person and his or her character. In either case, it usually implies a feeling of doubt from suspicion, mistrust, or hesitation.
Origin and Etymology of dubious
Latin dubius, from dubare to vacillate; akin to Latin duo two — more at two
First Known Use: 1548
Synonym Discussion of dubious
DUBIOUS Defined for Kids
Definition of dubious for Students
Seen and Heard
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