dubious

adjective
du·​bi·​ous | \ˈdü-bē-əs 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

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web

As Burgess mentioned, council members were dubious Hansen could land the NBA team before his exclusivity deal expired in December 2017. Geoff Baker, The Seattle Times, "Why the Seattle City Council voted in favor of KeyArena but not Chris Hansen’s Sodo project," 25 Sep. 2018 The care that the authors take to dance around these concepts when discussing some of campaign officials' more dubious choices is damning. Jay Willis, GQ, "Republican Intelligence Committee Finds Nothing Alarming About Failed Collusion Attempts," 27 Apr. 2018 The president often tells aides to craft executive orders – even when his authority is legally dubious. Josh Dawsey, The Seattle Times, "Trump vows to sign order ending birthright citizenship," 30 Oct. 2018 Many of the clinics providing those services have reputations for being either dubious or outright fraudulent. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Crowdfunding raises millions for quack cancer remedies, like coffee enemas," 20 Sep. 2018 The interest in this curiosity would lead to one of geology’s most dubious ideas: the Expanding Earth theory. Meg Neal, Popular Mechanics, "We’ve Been Wrong Before: The Expanding Earth Theory," 3 Aug. 2018 Damascus Cover ends on a lightly cynical twist intended to critique the morally dubious backstage deal-making behind superpower spy games. Stephen Dalton, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Damascus Cover': Film Review," 4 July 2018 And the President’s ambivalence last week on the compromise made its future even more dubious. Philip Elliott, Time, "Republicans in Congress Search for an Immigration Bill to End Border Crisis," 20 June 2018 Smiling at any stranger is considered dubious, perhaps even the sign of a feeble mind. New York Times, "Russia Wants to Play Nice With Foreigners. Just Not Too Nice.," 14 June 2018

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.

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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

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Dictionary Entries near dubious

Dubhe

dubiety

dubiosity

dubious

dubitable

dubitancy

dubitant

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Last Updated

6 Dec 2018

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The first known use of dubious was in 1548

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More Definitions for dubious

dubious

adjective

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, 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

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More from Merriam-Webster on dubious

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with dubious

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for dubious

Spanish Central: Translation of dubious

Nglish: Translation of dubious for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dubious for Arabic Speakers

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