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 thingdubious stresses suspicion, mistrust, or hesitation.
dubious about the practicality of the schemeproblematic applies especially to things whose existence, meaning, fulfillment, or realization is highly uncertain.
whether the project will ever be finished is problematicquestionable 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. 2007Thus, 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, 2007That 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 2002To 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 WebAnd Trump made the subject one of his favorite talking points—embellishing it with many dubious claims—during the presidential debates in 2020.
Tristan Bove, Fortune, 29 Mar. 2022 Based on these videos, some of the Bonds for the Win activists appear to believe that their legally dubious claims could succeed, while other organizers have at times signaled that the true intention is to cause disruption.
NBC News, 21 Feb. 2022 If that last question cannot be answered in an advantageous way, then the blow-up option is dubious.
Gordon Monson, The Salt Lake Tribune, 29 Apr. 2022 With inflation already rampant, though, the benefits of injecting more cash into the economy are dubious at best.
Samuel Goldman, The Week, 27 Apr. 2022 The report’s section on nursing homes is also dubious.
Daniel Dale, CNN, 30 Mar. 2022 But Williams was still dubious and blamed her for the changes Larry had imposed.
Stephen Galloway, The Hollywood Reporter, 25 Mar. 2022 Whether, for example, China agrees to support Ukraine is dubious.
Jan Smoleński, The New Republic, 22 Mar. 2022 The second installment of the away fixture saw Barca fight tooth and nail, and though Memphis' winning penalty after Ferran Torres levelled the score was dubious, the Xavi effect could clearly be seen once more in all its glory.
Tom Sanderson, Forbes, 7 Mar. 2022 See More
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.