doubt

1 of 2

verb

doubted; doubting; doubts

transitive verb

1
: to call into question the truth of : to be uncertain or in doubt about
He doubts everyone's word.
2
a
: 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.
3
archaic
a
: fear
… I doubt I have been beguiled!Sir Walter Scott
b
doubtable adjective
doubter noun
doubtingly adverb

doubt

2 of 2

noun

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

Verb 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. Noun 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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
In this atmosphere of confusion, political analysts doubt that the PMLN and PPP will be able to govern effectively. Hasan Ali, The Christian Science Monitor, 21 Feb. 2024 In conversation, Mckinney was frequently doubting herself. M.h. Miller, New York Times, 17 Feb. 2024 Whatever official cause of death might be cited, few observers doubted that Navalny’s death was caused directly or indirectly by the Russian authorities, coming after the poisoning attempt in August 2020 and three years of ill treatment since his return. Catherine Belton, Washington Post, 16 Feb. 2024 This isn’t a reason to doubt AI’s venture potential, however. Sage Lazzaro, Fortune, 15 Feb. 2024 If anyone doubts the burnout tech proliferation can cause, consider this: the willingness of employees to embrace changes, which stood at 74% in 2016, now hovers around a dismal 43%. Sherzod Odilov, Forbes, 14 Feb. 2024 Like Kobe, Kanye wouldn’t be denied his greatness despite the people who doubted him. Jayson Buford, Rolling Stone, 13 Feb. 2024 But the tradeoff is that the audience never doubted that a real person was speaking that elevated language. Mary Carole McCauley, Baltimore Sun, 9 Feb. 2024 After oral arguments, there is little reason to doubt that the Court will decide in Trump’s favor. Jeannie Suk Gersen, The New Yorker, 9 Feb. 2024
Noun
Global research by Oracle revealed that 85% reported experiencing decision distress, including regret, guilt or doubts regarding their decisions made in the past year. Oleh Kurtianyk, Forbes, 23 Feb. 2024 Still strong potential for solid actual play, but no doubt that this pairing is a little lacking for juicy storylines. Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz, USA TODAY, 23 Feb. 2024 Under current state law, a jury must unanimously find that prosecutors proved at least one aggravating factor beyond a reasonable doubt. Grethel Aguila, Miami Herald, 22 Feb. 2024 Many people express themselves in a language of angst, doubt, fear, and uncertainty, but avoid talking about specifics. Fred Weir, The Christian Science Monitor, 22 Feb. 2024 But with the support of friends and producers, Harrison and Pierre eventually overcame their doubts, delivering distinctive and bold portraits of the two men. Greg Braxton, Los Angeles Times, 22 Feb. 2024 Those doubts were echoed in separate comments made by United CEO Scott Kirby. Marlene Lenthang, NBC News, 21 Feb. 2024 But there is no doubt Kissinger cared about stopping the spread of Soviet systems. Niall Ferguson, Foreign Affairs, 20 Feb. 2024 But there is little doubt, due to how violent (collisions) the tackle game has become, that someday flag football will become a hybrid of professional tackle football. Charley Walters, Twin Cities, 10 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'doubt.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Verb and Noun

Middle English douten, from Anglo-French duter, douter, from Latin dubitare to be in doubt; akin to Latin dubius dubious

First Known Use

Verb

13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 3a

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2a

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

Dictionary Entries Near doubt

Cite this Entry

“Doubt.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/doubt. Accessed 2 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition

doubt

1 of 2 verb
1
: to be uncertain about
doubts her sincerity
2
: to lack confidence in
doubted his own abilities
3
: to consider unlikely
doubt if I can go
doubtable adjective
doubter noun
doubtingly adverb

doubt

2 of 2 noun
1
: uncertainty of belief or opinion
2
: the state of being uncertain
the outcome is in doubt
3
a
: a lack of confidence
b
: an inclination not to believe or accept

More from Merriam-Webster on doubt

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