\ˈdau̇t \

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

But there are reasons to doubt that distribution systems, filled with quirky and unpredictable human behaviors, can be adequately guided by the invisible hand alone. David Roberts, Vox, "Clean energy technologies threaten to overwhelm the grid. Here’s how it can adapt.," 30 Nov. 2018 There’s no reason to doubt the sincerity of Mr. Scott, the Senate’s only black Republican. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Democrats and Racial Division," 30 Nov. 2018 Why do some experts doubt the efficacy of growth factor serums? Jolene Edgar, Allure, "The Truth About Growth Factors in Skin Care and Why They're Controversial," 2 Aug. 2018 There's also some reason to doubt the box-office appeal of the tale. Jack Coyle,, "Movie already in works about rescue of soccer team from Thailand cave," 11 July 2018 Working to confirm, but no reason to doubt @KendallRogers report about Chris Lemonis to Mississippi State. Nat Newell, Indianapolis Star, "IU baseball coach Chris Lemonis hired by Mississippi State according to reports," 25 June 2018 Given the transformational changes taking shape in Ethiopia and the concrete steps the new leadership have taken in the domestic arena, there is no reason to doubt the sincerity of the government. Awol K. Allo, CNN, "Ethiopia's new Prime Minister has had a stellar two months, can he keep it up?," 7 June 2018 Norwood’s defense team pointed to the plea bargain as a reason to doubt Crockett’s testimony against his brother. Howard Ludwig, Daily Southtown, "Man found not guilty of Harvey triple fatal shooting," 16 May 2018 Jurors will find reason to doubt the conclusions pointing to Hall as the killer. Rafael Olmeda,, "Trial opens for man accused of Dania 'Bingo Queen' murder," 10 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 There’s no doubt that art fairs have been a fantastic way of growing the art market in general. Gaby Del Valle, Vox, "Parties, private jets, and multimillion-dollar paintings: Art Basel, explained," 6 Dec. 2018 But either way, there’s little doubt that 2018 hit a new record high for global emissions. Chris Mooney, The Seattle Times, "‘We are in trouble.’ Global carbon emissions reached a record high in 2018.," 5 Dec. 2018 His report on Monday, however, leaves little doubt that China Telecom has either knowingly or otherwise engaged in BGP leaks that have affected large chunks of Internet traffic for a sustained period. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "Strange snafu misroutes domestic US Internet traffic through China Telecom," 6 Nov. 2018 From healthcare reform to climate change to the future of work and automation, there’s no doubt that science is at the core of these issues—and experts in each of those field are majorly underrepresented in our national government. Hans Aschim, Harper's BAZAAR, "Could More Female Scientists in Public Office Save America?," 8 Oct. 2018 There’s no doubt what this image declares though: Both new GeForce RTX graphics cards will be faster than anything previously released. Brad Chacos, PCWorld, "The GeForce RTX 2080 will be faster than the GTX 1080 Ti, Nvidia says," 13 Sep. 2018 There’s no doubt that Crest Whitestrips are one of the most recognizable over-the-counter teeth whitening systems available. Emma Sarran Webster, Allure, "6 of the Best Teeth-Whitening Kits in the Drugstore," 13 Sep. 2018 There’s no doubt that, as well as wishing Meghan a very happy birthday, Her Majesty will also be marking the special, bittersweet date and remembering her mother. Lucy Wood, Marie Claire, "Meghan Markle's Birthday Holds a Special Meaning for the Queen Already," 1 Aug. 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


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


see doubt entry 1

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Statistics for doubt

Last Updated

18 Dec 2018

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

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a knickknack or trinket

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