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

Other dubious ideas Klosterman’s characters warily entertain include time travel, purgatory and self-improvement via lupicide. Charles Arrowsmith, Washington Post, "Chuck Klosterman tries to make sense of our absurd reality in ‘Raised in Captivity’," 16 July 2019 Maybe his ethically dubious advances toward his (ostensibly younger) employee were signals of a much larger problem. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "Younger is a great show. One of its love interests: Not so much.," 14 July 2019 The College Board has embraced a dubious idea that might have the beneficial effect of prompting college admissions officers to think of better ideas for broadening their pool of applicants. George Will, Twin Cities, "George Will: The College Board tries to solve a social problem that it’s unsuited to solve," 9 June 2019 But the plan is backfiring as an ethically dubious program involving private-interest funding of state AG staff is being confronted in court. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "State AGs’ Climate Cover-up," 7 June 2019 But here’s a thought: why does the president even need to go through the motions of rationalizing his most dubious ideas? Benjamin Hart, Daily Intelligencer, "Trump Should Be More Honest About His Jerkiness," 10 Feb. 2018 In Baltimore, the dubious honor went to a pair of usual suspects: the Beltway, and Route 295. Colin Campbell, baltimoresun.com, "Baltimore drivers ranked worst in America by Allstate for second straight year," 26 June 2019 In 2013, a California audit found that 39 of the 144 women in the state’s prison system who underwent a bilateral tubal ligation between 2005 and 2013 did so under conditions of missing or dubious consent. Audrey Farley, Longreads, "We Still Don’t Know How to Navigate the Cultural Legacy of Eugenics," 20 June 2019 But their rewards could be dubious, since China or Spain might await in the second round of the tournament in France. Frank Dell’apa, BostonGlobe.com, "European teams setting the pace at Women’s World Cup," 15 June 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

Listen to Our Podcast about dubious

Dictionary Entries near dubious

Dubhe

dubiety

dubiosity

dubious

dubitable

dubitancy

dubitant

Statistics for dubious

Last Updated

19 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for dubious

The first known use of dubious was in 1548

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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 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

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

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

an act or instance of editing or removing

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What's that Smell?! Quiz

  • wide eyed dog smelling rose
  • Someone who is hircine smells like a:
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!