adjective du·bi·ous \ˈdü-bē-əs also dyü-\

: 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

:  giving rise to uncertainty: as
a :  of doubtful promise or outcome <a dubious plan>
b :  questionable or suspect as to true nature or quality <the practice is of dubious legality>
:  unsettled in opinion :  doubtful <I was dubious about the plan>
du·bi·ous·ly adverb
du·bi·ous·ness noun

Examples of DUBIOUS

  1. He made the highly dubious claim that Elvis is still alive and living in Hawaii.
  2. a man of dubious character
  3. 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

Origin of DUBIOUS

Latin dubius, from dubare to vacillate; akin to Latin duo two — more at two
First Known Use: 1548

Synonym Discussion of DUBIOUS

doubtful, dubious, problematic, questionable mean not affording assurance of the worth, soundness, or certainty of something. doubtful implies little more than a lack of conviction or certainty <doubtful about whether I said the right thing>. dubious stresses suspicion, mistrust, or hesitation <dubious about the practicality of the scheme>. problematic applies especially to things whose existence, meaning, fulfillment, or realization is highly uncertain <whether the project will ever be finished is problematic>. questionable may imply no more than the existence of doubt but usually suggests that the suspicions are well-grounded <a man of questionable honesty>.

Rhymes with DUBIOUS

DUBIOUSNESS Defined for Kids


adjective du·bi·ous \ˈdü-bē-əs, ˈdyü-\

Definition of DUBIOUS for Kids

:  causing doubt :  uncertain <Our plans are dubious at this point.>
:  feeling doubt <I was dubious about our chances.>
:  questionable 1 <… they all began discussing dragon-slayings historical, dubious, and mythical … — J. R. R. Tolkien, The Hobbit>
du·bi·ous·ly adverb


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