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

Definition of doubt

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 archaic

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



Definition of doubt (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : uncertainty of belief or opinion that often interferes with decision-making
b : a deliberate suspension of judgment
2 : a state of affairs giving rise to uncertainty, hesitation, or suspense the outcome is still in doubt
3a : a lack of confidence : distrust has doubts about his abilities
b : an inclination not to believe or accept a claim met with doubt
no 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


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.


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

Victims’ families and many others doubt the official version from prosecutors that their bodies were burned beyond a trace at a garbage dump, and the incident remains one of the country’s rawest open wounds. Washington Post, "Mexico ‘anti-monuments’ recall dark moments, demand justice," 30 June 2019 One woman identified herself as a longtime fan of Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, while another woman doubted that the Democratic socialist could win against President Donald Trump. Jeannette Hinkle, azcentral, "Arizona Democrats split on candidates ahead of second debate night, but are down on Biden," 27 June 2019 This was a glimpse of the future in Colorado — a future Timmins doubted over the last year. Mike Chambers, The Denver Post, "Conor Timmins is back in the fold for the Avalanche," 26 June 2019 Willful violations of the Data Practices Act are classified as misdemeanors, though Gemberling doubted there’s much evidence to point to willful intent. Mara H. Gottfried, Twin Cities, "St. Paul’s police chief didn’t announce names of 5 fired officers. Was that a blunder?," 20 June 2019 But there are still doubts about whether this was the gun that killed the then-unloved van Gogh, now among the most beloved artists of all time. Maria Puente, USA TODAY, "Was this the gun that killed van Gogh? It just sold for $182,000," 19 June 2019 More serious, perhaps, is the revelation that four days before unveiling his case against Lula, Mr Dallagnol doubted its solidity and rejoiced when his team found an old press cutting about the flat. The Economist, "Brazil’s Lava Jato corruption investigation could self-destruct," 15 June 2019 America’s revived left wing, mobilized by Bernie Sanders and drawn to organizations like the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), does not doubt the disastrous consequences of the Trump presidency. Adam Tooze, The New York Review of Books, "Democracy and Its Discontents," 6 June 2019 Conversely, before the 2008 election, weren’t pundits busy doubting whether the United States was ready to elect a black president? Margaret Sullivan, Washington Post, "Joe Biden and the ‘electability’ delusion — and why the media keep making the same mistake," 16 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

These doubts create a possible vulnerability as Trump highlights the economy’s solid performance in his campaign for re-election in 2020. Washington Post, "AP-NORC Poll: Trump not boosted by strong American economy," 1 July 2019 In the film, Christian's unfettered desire for Satine awakens her pessimism and doubt, and while the story has shifted, this essential point about their connection remains. Suzy Evans, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Moulin Rouge!' Stars Aaron Tveit and Karen Olivo Go Deeper and Darker on Stage," 1 July 2019 Significant doubts remain, though, about the future of the negotiations and the North’s willingness to give up its stockpile of nuclear weapons . Jonathan Lemire,, "Wide grins and historic handshake at DMZ as Trump visits Kim Jong Un in North Korea," 30 June 2019 That's music to the ears of Real, who will no doubt be going all out to secure a big-money move for Mbappe next year., "Transfer Rumours: Rakitic to Man Utd, PSG Contact Bonucci, Kylian Mbappe to Refuse New Deal & More," 29 June 2019 And in private, officials express doubts as to whether EU27 countries really want outsized quantities of financial risk shifting to European capitals. The Economist, "London’s reign as the world’s capital of capital is at risk," 29 June 2019 Some employees struggle for ideas on how the situation could be changed and doubt that anything can be fixed without better pay and newer equipment. Beau Evans,, "Sewerage & Water Board employees, clocking long hours, long to be heard – not watched," 28 June 2019 In the double-jeopardy case, Justice Thomas, who previously had expressed doubts, said in the end he was persuaded the precedent was correct. Brent Kendall, WSJ, "Supreme Court Wrap-Up: a Slate of Conservative, If Less Predictable, Rulings," 28 June 2019 Several of these latter works are so thickly layered and doubt-filled as to seem overworked or at the very edge of the artist's control. Dallas News, "Return of the Lilies: Monet makes a triumphant encore at the Kimbell," 28 June 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 1


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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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Statistics for doubt

Last Updated

3 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for doubt

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

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More Definitions for doubt



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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with doubt

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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

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