dubious

adjective
du·​bi·​ous | \ ˈdü-bē-əs How to pronounce dubious (audio) also dyü- \

Definition of dubious

1 : unsettled in opinion : doubtful I was dubious about the plan.
2 : giving rise to uncertainty: such as
a : of doubtful promise or outcome a dubious plan
b : questionable or suspect as to true nature or quality the practice is of dubious legality

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from dubious

dubiously adverb
dubiousness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for dubious

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

There's No Uncertainty Around the Definition of Dubious

Dubious derives from the Latin verb dubare, meaning "to hesitate in choice of opinions or courses," and it is related to the Latin word for "two": duo. Dubious can be used to indicate uncertainty about the result of an action or the truth of a statement as well as about the uncertainty of a person and his or her character. In either case, it usually implies a feeling of doubt from suspicion, mistrust, or hesitation.

Examples of dubious in a Sentence

The recent rumbles and ruptures in the financial markets are finally making people reassess the dubious systems of credit that have arisen in the past few years. — William Safire, New York Times Magazine, 19 Aug. 2007 Thus, the translation of the Latin word biographus as "a biography," and the limitation of "biographies" to written, printed histories of men, was perhaps inevitable. Poor Dryden was given the dubious honor of being the first to use the generic term—despite the fact that his phrase had been taken out of the context of biographical compilers, in a discussion of Plutarch. — Nigel Hamilton, Biography, 2007 That indeed is the crux of the matter. Today especially, when community-oriented policing is being introduced everywhere, it seems not only ethically dubious but self-defeating to engage in practices that at their best undermine trust and cooperation between citizens and law-enforcement officials and at their worst foster cynicism toward our legal system. — Edwin Dobb, Harper's, May 2002 To avoid fees, the new "relationship" minimum for checking accounts jumped from $2000 to as much as $6000. And what would customers get in exchange? The ability to take advantage of such a dubious new benefit as a consolidated monthly statement. Consumer Reports, March 1996 He made the highly dubious claim that Elvis is still alive and living in Hawaii. a man of dubious character
See More
Recent Examples on the Web Ben Valdez, who has driven for Uber for four years, is dubious that any development by the company will benefit drivers. Amrita Khalid, Quartz, "Uber’s fare-setting experiment in California could cost drivers," 22 Jan. 2020 What’s clear is that Schofield is dubious about the mission and resentful of Blake for choosing him as his partner. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, "The Beauty of Sam Mendes’s “1917” Comes at a Cost," 7 Jan. 2020 The Twins aren’t the only team to make dubious history this October. Kevin Cusick, Twin Cities, "Twins’ playoff record adds to Minnesota’s postseason infamy," 5 Oct. 2019 But studying them is challenging, with results often inconclusive, dubious or failing to meet the right criteria to satisfy various health agencies. NBC News, "Teen's cancer uncovers a mystery in one North Carolina town: Why here?," 2 Jan. 2020 Virginia all lost to unranked teams, with UK’s loss to Evansville by far the most dubious. Hayes Gardner, The Courier-Journal, "Morning Coffee: Is it just us, or is this college basketball season particularly crazy?," 17 Dec. 2019 There are several reasons why the ABA’s attacks on VanDyke are either dubious or absurd. John Mccormack, National Review, "Smearing Lawrence VanDyke," 13 Dec. 2019 The kind of misinformation that resulted in Zhe Zhe’s death is unlikely to be caught as dubious by any social media bot or algorithm. Wired, "The Influencer Scientists Debunking Online Misinformation," 13 Nov. 2019 Use good judgement to sidestep dubious schemes and instead focus your energies on creating your dreams using your own knowledge and skills. Tribune Content Agency, oregonlive.com, "Horoscope for Aug. 17, 2019: Aries, not a good time for risky endeavors; Libra, don’t be mislead by wishful thinking," 17 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dubious.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of dubious

1548, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for dubious

Latin dubius, from dubare to vacillate; akin to Latin duo two — more at two

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about dubious

Time Traveler for dubious

Time Traveler

The first known use of dubious was in 1548

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast about dubious

Statistics for dubious

Last Updated

15 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Dubious.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dubious. Accessed 17 Feb. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for dubious

dubious

adjective
How to pronounce dubious (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of dubious

: unsure or uncertain : feeling doubt about something
: causing doubt, uncertainty, or suspicion : likely to be bad or wrong
used ironically in phrases like dubious honor and dubious distinction to describe something bad or undesirable as if it were an honor or achievement

dubious

adjective
du·​bi·​ous | \ ˈdü-bē-əs How to pronounce dubious (audio) , ˈdyü- \

Kids Definition of dubious

1 : causing doubt : uncertain Our plans are dubious at this point.
2 : feeling doubt I was dubious about our chances.
3 : questionable sense 1 … they all began discussing dragon-slayings historical, dubious, and mythical …— J. R. R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

Other Words from dubious

dubiously adverb

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on dubious

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for dubious

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with dubious

Spanish Central: Translation of dubious

Nglish: Translation of dubious for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dubious for Arabic Speakers

Comments on dubious

What made you want to look up dubious? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

More Confusing Words—Quiz

  • cats on impossible timber
  • The magician ______ moved the selected card to the top of the deck.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!