Definition of dubious
- a dubious plan
- the practice is of dubious legality
- I was dubious about the plan.
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He made the highly dubious claim that Elvis is still alive and living in Hawaii.
a man of dubious character
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.
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.
: 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
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