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

Other Words from doubtful

doubtfully \ ˈdau̇t-​fə-​lē How to pronounce doubtful (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.
Recent Examples on the Web To what degree the days leading up to Tuesday’s deadline would change anything seems doubtful. Peter Abraham,, 27 July 2022 But that seems doubtful, given the Cardinals signed him to a three-year deal shortly after trading for him in March of 2021. Kent Somers, The Arizona Republic, 20 July 2022 However, progress has slowed down due to the pandemic, and the industry's pre-Covid goal of reaching 2% use of SAF by 2025 -- from 0.1% in 2019 -- now seems doubtful. Jacopo Prisco, CNN, 26 Apr. 2022 In fact the tendency of Congress with respect to the 1934 Act appeared to be to resolve all doubtful cases against the taxpayer and in favor of more revenue for the government. Joseph Thorndike, Forbes, 18 July 2022 Through her prolific film career, Judi Dench proved one doubtful director wrong. Benjamin Vanhoose,, 12 July 2022 The strike left the rapidly coalescing community of foreign fighters doubtful and demoralized, but in large part undeterred. Seth Harp, Harper’s Magazine , 22 June 2022 Twitter stock futures fell sharply after his doubtful tweet; prices jumped after his reassuring one, but closed down Friday almost 10 percent. Marc Fisher, Christian Davenport And Faiz Siddiqui, Anchorage Daily News, 15 May 2022 Twitter stock futures fell sharply after his doubtful tweet; prices jumped after his reassuring one, but closed down Friday almost 10 percent. Faiz Siddiqui, Washington Post, 14 May 2022 See More

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.

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

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

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Dictionary Entries Near doubtful



doubting mania

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Last Updated

8 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Doubtful.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for doubtful


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

More from Merriam-Webster on doubtful

Nglish: Translation of doubtful for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of doubtful for Arabic Speakers


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