doubtful

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

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

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Other Words from doubtful

doubtfully \ -​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

China has claimed an advantage in this area, having apparently already mounted a railgun on a ship while the equivalent U.S. Navy program will not go to sea until at least 2020 (and even that looks doubtful). David Hambling, Popular Mechanics, "What You Need to Know About the South China Sea, the World's Next Hot Spot," 27 Feb. 2019 Kushner had also been banking on Saudi Arabia, and his pal MBS, to help advance the plan — but the future of that also seemed pretty doubtful even before the Khashoggi fallout. Jen Kirby, Vox, "The 7 biggest foreign news stories to watch in 2019, from Brexit to North Korea," 24 Dec. 2018 The closer the appliance is to that 8 to 12-year limit, the more doubtful the economics of a repair becomes. Roy Berendson, Popular Mechanics, "How To Fix a Water Heater, Or Install a New One," 14 Nov. 2018 That seems doubtful, as Sun reporter Tom Newton Dunn said Sanders was in the room during his wild, half-hour chat with the president. Margaret Hartmann, Daily Intelligencer, "Admitting He Feels ‘Unwelcome,’ Trump Finds New Ways to Offend the British," 13 July 2018 Yet consumers, especially younger ones, are increasingly doubtful about diesel-powered cars. The Economist, "Last lap of luxuryGerman cars have the most to lose from changes facing the auto industry," 1 Mar. 2018 This is doubtful, as Justice Neil Gorsuch noted in oral argument. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Fines and Punishment," 29 Nov. 2018 But Beijing already has a mutual defense treaty with North Korea, so its doubtful that alone would be sufficient. Charlie Campbell / Beijing, Time, "Self-Championed Dealmaker Donald Trump Faces the Ultimate Test Meeting Kim Jong Un," 9 Mar. 2018 There is a new, mix-gender team event that makes its debut at these Olympics, but Shiffrin's team considers her doubtful for that. Barry Svrluga, chicagotribune.com, "Mikaela Shiffrin is the world's best woman skier — and she's worried that's not enough," 7 Feb. 2018

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 1

History and Etymology for doubtful

see doubt entry 1

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Statistics for doubtful

Last Updated

15 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for doubtful

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

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More Definitions for doubtful

doubtful

adjective

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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More from Merriam-Webster on doubtful

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for doubtful

Spanish Central: Translation of doubtful

Nglish: Translation of doubtful for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of doubtful for Arabic Speakers

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