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

He's long complained that smaller nations don't pay the same membership dues and spend the same portion of money on defense as the US, a factually dubious claim that has been checked repeatedly. Z. Byron Wolf, CNN, "Trump's new world order," 11 June 2018 That dubious distinction belongs to J.D. Tucker, who shot a 157 in the first round of the 1898 U.S. Open. Dan Gartland, SI.com, "Scott Gregory Shoots First-Round 92 at U.S. Open," 14 June 2018 If the rules change with the tides, if every day a new mechanic enters the game, suddenly the very possibility of strategy becomes dubious. Stephen Fishbach, PEOPLE.com, "Wendell Holland Wins Survivor After First-Ever Tie Vote," 23 May 2018 This may help explain the backlash against trade As Jeffry Frieden notes in a new working paper, U.S. voters have become increasingly dubious about international economic integration since the 2000s. Henry Farrell, Washington Post, "Donald Trump says trade wars are ‘good, and easy to win.’ He’s flat-out wrong," 2 Mar. 2018 That case established a precedent that courts should consider an array of evidence even if each individual piece would be dubious when viewed in isolation. Charlie Savage, New York Times, "Brett Kavanaugh on the Issues: Abortion, Guns, Climate and More," 10 July 2018 That may not be fair, especially in a case like this where the facts are dubious at best. Chad Pergram, Fox News, "Jim Jordan, facing accusations of ignoring sexual abuse, faces political crisis," 7 July 2018 The Panthers looked fabulous at 40 on Monday night, but their future beyond this week is still dubious. Walter Villa, miamiherald, "Florida Panthers’ playoff hopes still alive. This is why. | Miami Herald," 2 Apr. 2018 Given that starting pitchers are babied beyond belief, shouldn’t baseball change its dubious Quality Start stat? Paul Daugherty, Cincinnati.com, "Paul Daugherty's Morning Line: Cincinnati Reds need the off day, and other MLB thoughts," 12 July 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

Statistics for dubious

Last Updated

11 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for dubious

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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