doubtful

adjective
doubt·​ful | \ ˈdau̇t-fəl How to pronounce doubtful (audio) \

Definition of doubtful

1a : lacking a definite opinion, conviction, or determination They were doubtful about the advantages of the new system.
b : uncertain in outcome : undecided The outcome of the election remains doubtful.
2 : marked by qualities that raise doubts about worth, honesty, or validity of doubtful repute
3 : giving rise to doubt or uncertainty : open to question It is doubtful that they ever knew what happened. a doubtful premise

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Other Words from doubtful

doubtfully \ ˈdau̇t-​fə-​lē How to pronounce doubtfully (audio) \ adverb
doubtfulness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for doubtful

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

Examples of doubtful in a Sentence

I tried to reassure them, but they remained doubtful. The truth of the statements was doubtful. Their decisions were based on data of doubtful accuracy.
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Recent Examples on the Web Thomas is doubtful, but says a telemedicine center linked to doctors in Montgomery might work -- assuming the Internet connection improves. Margaret Newkirk, Bloomberg.com, "Rural Alabama County Fights Virus Outbreak With Just One Doctor," 23 June 2020 The economic slump caused by the coronavirus has made reaching those targets doubtful, though the U.S. had signaled some flexibility. Time, "President Trump Says China Trade Deal ‘Fully Intact’ After Adviser Appeared to Claim It Was 'Over'," 23 June 2020 The Harris County resident had reason to be doubtful. Perla Trevizo, ExpressNews.com, "When small businesses can’t access PPP, local governments struggle to close the gap," 7 June 2020 Experts were doubtful the virus was being spread through salmon or other food products. BostonGlobe.com, "Europe reopens, Beijing outbreak revives need for vigilance," 15 June 2020 Experts were doubtful the virus was being spread through salmon or other food products. Ken Moritsugu, The Christian Science Monitor, "Virus outbreak in Beijing: a cautionary tale of reopening," 15 June 2020 The Harris County resident had reason to be doubtful. Perla Trevizo, ExpressNews.com, "When small businesses can’t access PPP, local governments struggle to close the gap," 7 June 2020 The Harris County resident had reason to be doubtful. Perla Trevizo, ProPublica, "When Small Businesses Can’t Access PPP, Local Governments Struggle to Close the Gap," 5 June 2020 First-quarter earnings reports showed lenders made very different assumptions on how the economy will fare this year when setting aside funds for doubtful loans. Nicholas Comfort, Bloomberg.com, "Europe’s Bank Watchdogs Put Further Relief on Hold Until October," 19 May 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'doubtful.' 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 doubtful

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

History and Etymology for doubtful

see doubt entry 1

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Time Traveler for doubtful

Time Traveler

The first known use of doubtful was in the 14th century

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Statistics for doubtful

Last Updated

2 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Doubtful.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/doubtful. Accessed 9 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for doubtful

doubtful

adjective
How to pronounce doubtful (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of doubtful

: uncertain or unsure about something
: not likely to be true : not probable
: likely to be bad : not worthy of trust

doubtful

adjective
doubt·​ful | \ ˈdau̇t-fəl How to pronounce doubtful (audio) \

Kids Definition of doubtful

1 : undecided or unsure about something I'm doubtful we'll make it on time. Minli was a little doubtful about riding the dragon.— Grace Lin, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon
2 : not likely to be true a doubtful claim
3 : not likely to be good doubtful quality
4 : not certain in outcome a doubtful future

Other Words from doubtful

doubtfully \ -​fə-​lē \ adverb

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Comments on doubtful

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