\ ˈdau̇t How to pronounce doubt (audio) \
doubted; doubting; doubts

Definition of doubt

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to call into question the truth of : to be uncertain or in doubt about He doubts everyone's word.
2a : 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.
3 archaic
a : fear … I doubt I have been beguiled!— Sir Walter Scott


plural doubts

Definition of doubt (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : a lack of confidence : distrust has doubts about his abilities
b : an inclination not to believe or accept a claim met with doubt
2a : uncertainty of belief or opinion that often interferes with decision-making
b : a deliberate suspension of judgment
3 : a state of affairs giving rise to uncertainty, hesitation, or suspense The outcome is still in 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

Verb 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. Noun 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 is a mathematical reason to doubt the Colts: point differential. Nat Newell, Indianapolis Star, "Are the Colts good or lucky?," 30 Oct. 2019 There is no reason to doubt that Gabbard comes by her views honestly. Nr Editors, National Review, "The Week," 24 Oct. 2019 The explosion in the provision of free services is usually cited as a reason to doubt the accuracy of GDP. The Economist, "TechnologyTechnology is making inflation statistics an unreliable guide to the economy," 10 Oct. 2019 Few people in the early 20th century doubted that Rockefeller’s company, Standard Oil, was engaged in questionable practices. David Mislin, The Conversation, "How a 1905 debate about ‘tainted’ Rockefeller money is a reminder of ethical dilemmas today," 2 Oct. 2019 One reason to doubt a causal relationship: Teen smoking was already in decline before e-cigarettes were widely used. Dan Kopf, Quartz, "Restricting e-cigarettes could increase the number of young smokers," 1 Oct. 2019 Even aside from his associations with Manafort and persistent cozying up to Russia, there would be reasons to doubt that friendship. Michael Colborne, The New Republic, "The Mess Trump Has Made in Ukraine," 26 Sep. 2019 But skeptics like Gostin have reason to doubt that Google’s data-ravenous operating style is compatible with the sensitive business of healthcare. Wired, "AI Could Reinvent Medicine—Or Become a Patient's Nightmare," 19 Sep. 2019 Despite his eloquent arguments to the contrary, there’s reason to doubt whether that’s a successful strategy for a presidential bid in 2020. David Roberts, Vox, "The 4 best ideas from Jay Inslee’s new climate justice plan," 30 July 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Tua Tagovailoa, three of Alabama’s top four receivers and key defensive contributors like Xavier McKinney and Terrell Lewis will all likely be gone, casting serious doubt on whether Alabama can best this year’s 10-win record next season. John Talty |, al, "‘Alabama Factor’ a total dud in disappointing Tide season," 1 Dec. 2019 What's doubt is whether Cincinnati could remain ahead of either Boise State or Appalachian State should the Bearcats rebound to beat Memphis next week. Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY, "Friday's winners and losers in college football led by Virginia and Texas," 30 Nov. 2019 The doubts have only increased with each passing year. Rainer Sabin, Detroit Free Press, "What does Michigan football's blowout loss to Ohio State mean for Jim Harbaugh?," 30 Nov. 2019 From buttery rolls and collard greens to some ‘slap yo’ momma’ mac and cheese, there’s no doubt that the dinner menu will be full of straight from the ancestors goodness. Danielle Pointdujour, Essence, "ESSENCE Staffers Discuss What Should Be On (And Off!) The Black Thanksgiving Table," 28 Nov. 2019 For John, trusting Mary triggers wracking doubt in his own education, intellect, and considerable medical experience. Lily Meyer, The Atlantic, "An 18th-Century Birthing Scam," 27 Nov. 2019 Prejudice against Colón’s predominately black population has no doubt played a major role as well. Rose Marie Cromwell, Harper's magazine, "Make Way for Tomorrow," 25 Nov. 2019 Does anyone doubt that Donald Trump would be capable of inciting a foreign or working with a foreign government, to affect the political process here in this country? NBC News, "Meet the Press - November 24, 2019," 24 Nov. 2019 But there was little doubt, judging from the data, that infants are losing protection against the measles faster the expected. Helen Branswell, STAT, "Measles immunity passed from mother to baby may erode quicker than believed, study says," 21 Nov. 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 3a


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2a

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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Time Traveler for doubt

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for doubt

Last Updated

4 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Doubt.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 9 December 2019.

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More Definitions for doubt


How to pronounce doubt (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for doubt

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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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