Definition of doubtful
1 : giving rise to doubt or uncertainty : open to question It is doubtful that they ever knew what happened. a doubtful premise
2a : 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.
3 : marked by qualities that raise doubts about worth, honesty, or validity of doubtful repute
doubtfullyplay \-fə-lē\ adverb
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.
Recent Examples of doubtful from the Web
Philippine national police chief says robbery may have been a motive in casino attack; terror links doubtful.
MANILA, Philippines — Philippine national police chief says robbery may have been a motive in casino attack; terror links doubtful.
Finally, in 2005, retired and increasingly doubtful that the historic images would ever see the light of day, Evans gave up on NASA and went public.
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.
Synonym Discussion of doubtful
DOUBTFUL Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of doubtful for English Language Learners
: uncertain or unsure about something
: not likely to be true : not probable
: likely to be bad : not worthy of trust
DOUBTFUL Defined for Kids
Definition of doubtful for Students
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
Seen and Heard
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