\ ˈdau̇t How to pronounce doubt (audio) \
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 How to pronounce doubtable (audio) \ adjective
doubter noun
doubtingly \ ˈdau̇-​tiŋ-​lē How to pronounce doubtingly (audio) \ 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

Conversely, before the 2008 election, weren’t pundits busy doubting whether the United States was ready to elect a black president? Margaret Sullivan, Washington Post, "Joe Biden and the ‘electability’ delusion — and why the media keep making the same mistake," 16 June 2019 Barnes presented an email from the non-partisan legislative Office of Fiscal Analysis, which was asked to review the regents’ savings projections — numbers that have been doubted by some critic. Kathleen Megan,, "Regents’ panel endorses $12.5M cut for community colleges," 14 June 2019 There is a wide gap between the best and worst football coaches, and who can possibly doubt that we have been favored with the presence of a man better suited to this difficult task than any man on earth? Bob Ryan,, "In pro sports, how much do coaches really matter?," 8 June 2019 This will not come as a revelation to people who have closely followed President Donald Trump’s public statements and Twitter feed and have long doubted his veracity. The Washington Post, The Mercury News, "Analysis: Media starting to describe falsehoods as ‘lies’," 5 June 2019 Over the past weeks, my book has provided an occasion for conservatives such as Rusty Reno and Ross Douthat to doubt that Americans have the same access to a cohesive sense of national identity and story as European nations do. Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review, "Are You, or Have You Ever Been, an American?," 4 June 2019 The Delhi government wants to make riding on metro trains and public buses free for all women, a plan that experts doubt will help much. Kuwar Singh, Quartz India, "Can a free pass get more Delhi women to use public transport?," 4 June 2019 Industry insiders expect full legalization by 2022 but doubt Pennsylvania businesses will have the money to stay afloat until then. Sam Wood,, "Big marijuana firms are ‘rolling up’ local dispensaries and growers, skirting Pennsylvania’s laws," 4 June 2019 The pangenomes of eukaryotes today are small in comparison with those of prokaryotes, which makes some scientists doubt that LECA’s pangenome was any larger than, say, ours. Quanta Magazine, "Researchers Rethink the Ancestry of Complex Cells," 9 Apr. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

On the plus side, there’s Duke Caboom (a great Keanu Reeves), an Evel Knievel-like action figure with a penchant for posing that masks self-doubt. Bill Goodykoontz, azcentral, "'Toy Story 4' doesn't need to exist, but in the end it's OK that it does," 15 June 2019 Mr Draghi has transformed the ECB, but 21 years after its creation, there are still nagging doubts about its strategy and firepower. The Economist, "Why Erkki Liikanen should be the ECB’s next boss," 15 June 2019 However, art scholars have increasingly voiced doubts about whether the image in the Louvre can indeed be Vasari’s Lisa, for the style and techniques of the painting match far better Leonardo’s later work from 1510 onwards. Susan Broomhall, Quartzy, "The secret to the Mona Lisa’s enduring allure," 15 June 2019 In contrast, Steinkellner lets us in on all her behind-the-scenes self-doubts. Margaret Gray,, "Review: Boston Court Pasadena’s ‘Ladies’ presents a puzzle of female empowerment," 14 June 2019 For the second straight game, the Wolverines jumped in front early, when sophomore center fielder Jesse Franklin hit a no-doubt solo home run off Florida State righty CJ Van Eyk. Anthony Fenech, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan's Tommy Henry twirls 3-hit gem in 2-0 win at College World Series," 13 June 2019 Most in Hong Kong have no doubt that Beijing, and Chinese President Xi Jinping in particular, are pulling the strings behind this law. Washington Post, "Beijing was already looking for ways to rein in Hong Kong. A gruesome Taiwan murder gave it a rare opening.," 13 June 2019 While accepting the emerging entrepreneur award at the event, Rae delivered a speech that should inspire anyone with an ounce of self-doubt to stop wasting their time on that nonsense. Sandra Gonzalez, CNN, "All should aspire to have the confidence of Issa Rae accepting an award," 13 June 2019 The confidence of his earlier work has now been checked by a pervasive doubt—about literature’s ability to create order and meaning, and to put a broken life back together. Ryu Spaeth, The New Republic, "Aleksandar Hemon’s Lost Eden," 6 June 2019

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

19 Jun 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 How to pronounce doubt (audio) \
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

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