\ ˈdau̇t \
doubted; doubting; doubts

Definition of doubt

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 archaic

a : fear I doubt I have been beguiled— Sir Walter Scott
b : suspect
2 : to call into question the truth of : to be uncertain or in doubt about He doubts everyone's word.
3a : to lack confidence in : distrust find myself doubting him even when I know that he is honest— H. L. Mencken
b : to consider unlikely I doubt if I can go



Definition of doubt (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : uncertainty of belief or opinion that often interferes with decision-making
b : a deliberate suspension of judgment
2 : a state of affairs giving rise to uncertainty, hesitation, or suspense the outcome is still in doubt
3a : a lack of confidence : distrust has doubts about his abilities
b : an inclination not to believe or accept a claim met with doubt
no doubt

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Other Words from doubt


doubtable \ ˈdau̇-​tə-​bəl \ adjective
doubter noun
doubtingly \ -​tiŋ-​lē \ adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for doubt


uncertainty, doubt, dubiety, skepticism, suspicion, mistrust mean lack of sureness about someone or something. uncertainty may range from a falling short of certainty to an almost complete lack of conviction or knowledge especially about an outcome or result. assumed the role of manager without hesitation or uncertainty doubt suggests both uncertainty and inability to make a decision. plagued by doubts as to what to do dubiety stresses a wavering between conclusions. felt some dubiety about its practicality skepticism implies unwillingness to believe without conclusive evidence. an economic forecast greeted with skepticism suspicion stresses lack of faith in the truth, reality, fairness, or reliability of something or someone. regarded the stranger with suspicion mistrust implies a genuine doubt based upon suspicion. had a great mistrust of doctors

Examples of doubt in a Sentence


I have always doubted the existence of life on other planets. No one doubts that the mission will be a success. I seriously doubt my parents will let me go. “Do you think you can come tonight?” “I doubt it.” She doubted his ability to succeed. He said he could do it, but I couldn't help doubting him.


I still have moments of doubt. There can be little doubt that smoking is bad for your health. I had a nagging doubt in the back of my mind.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Feeling insecure and doubting yourself is valid and normal, according to Dr. Lauren Hazzouri, psychologist and founder of The Practice. Elly Belle, Teen Vogue, "Dealing With Insecurities Might Get Easier as You Age, Survey Shows," 1 Aug. 2018 Throughout the season, Glenelg has never doubted its potential to make another state title run, Pagnotta said. Kyle Stackpole, Howard County Times, "Glenelg girls lacrosse wins second straight county title," 5 May 2018 Though many observers have doubted its incentives to do so, Friday’s announcement may be a step in that general direction. Benjamin Hart, Daily Intelligencer, "North Korea Announces Indefinite Suspension of Nuclear Program," 20 Apr. 2018 Those who ever doubted the legitimacy of Chopra and Jonas' relationship clearly weren't paying attention to Instagram. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas' Flirty Instagram Activity: A Complete History," 13 Nov. 2018 But many doubted the bank had enough bills on hand to satisfy the demand. Jorge Rueda, The Seattle Times, "Maduro buys gold to boost savings amid five-digit inflation," 3 Sep. 2018 But the activists doubted that the departure, announced by President Trump via Twitter, would change the administration's policies. NBC News, "Scott Pruitt EPA replacement Andrew Wheeler won't be any better for environment, green groups say," 5 July 2018 But even when Bell was out of the rotation, few doubted his immense potential. Connor Letourneau,, "Jordan Bell: How Warriors center handled up-and-down rookie season," 30 June 2018 But after a weak Christmas season, creditors doubted whether the company had a viable future and pushed to close its United States operations. Michael Corkery, New York Times, "At Toys ‘R’ Us, ‘There Is Nothing Left’: The Day It Closed for Good," 30 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The shift by these funds occurred as weak economic data and geopolitical uncertainty late last year raised doubts about the rate of global growth. Stephanie Yang, WSJ, "Computer Models to Investors: Short Everything," 9 Jan. 2019 Later, Kardashian followed up with another tweet on the subject: Still, plenty of people cast doubt on Twitter. Korin Miller, SELF, "Khloé Kardashian Wants People to Know That She Had 'Pregnancy Lips' During 'KUWTK' Filming," 8 Aug. 2018 Balance: Investors have doubts about the cartel’s plan to balance the market, especially as tumbling stock markets create fears of global recession that could reduce demand more. Neanda Salvaterra, WSJ, "U.S. Oil Prices Fall to 18-Month Low as Wall Street Tumbles," 24 Dec. 2018 This action might already provoke doubts about the wisdom of handing effective control of the Web's direction to Google, but at least a case could be made that, in the end, the right thing was done. Peter Bright, Ars Technica, "Google isn’t the company that we should have handed the Web over to," 17 Dec. 2018 SoftBank has expressed doubts about the likelihood of a second Vision Fund; here’s a look at how the Japanese conglomerate is handling the growing crisis. Recode Staff, Recode, "Recode Daily: Uber is building tools to Uber-ize all kinds of work," 19 Oct. 2018 The government desperately needed a new term to categorize this population that wouldn’t leave any doubt about their background. Araceli Cruz, Teen Vogue, "The Problematic History of the Word "Hispanic"," 9 Oct. 2018 In an excerpt published by Today, Andersen writes that having been with Kate throughout college, William was having doubts about their relationship. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Why Kate Middleton and Prince William Broke Up Before They Got Married," 23 Sep. 2018 That’s no doubt why the studio has already quietly started development on a sequel, as well as a Spider-Women movie that will focus on Gwen Stacey and other female heroes. Bryan Bishop, The Verge, "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is dazzling, hilarious, and unique," 14 Dec. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'doubt.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of doubt


13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for doubt

Verb and Noun

Middle English douten, from Anglo-French duter, douter, from Latin dubitare to be in doubt; akin to Latin dubius dubious

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Statistics for doubt

Last Updated

16 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for doubt

The first known use of doubt was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for doubt



English Language Learners Definition of doubt

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to be uncertain about (something) : to believe that (something) may not be true or is unlikely

: to have no confidence in (someone or something)



English Language Learners Definition of doubt (Entry 2 of 2)

: a feeling of being uncertain or unsure about something


\ ˈdau̇t \
doubted; doubting

Kids Definition of doubt

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to be uncertain about I doubt he's right.
2 : to lack confidence in I doubted my own judgment.
3 : to consider unlikely I doubt I can go tonight.



Kids Definition of doubt (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a feeling of being uncertain Their predicament filled her with doubt.
2 : a reason for disbelief There can be no doubt that you have a most unusual pig.— E. B. White, Charlotte's Web
3 : the condition of being undecided Our plans are now in doubt.
4 : a lack of trust I have my doubts about this explanation.

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More from Merriam-Webster on doubt

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with doubt

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for doubt

Spanish Central: Translation of doubt

Nglish: Translation of doubt for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of doubt for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about doubt

Comments on doubt

What made you want to look up doubt? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to settle judicially or to act as judge

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