ques·​tion·​able | \ˈkwes-chə-nə-bəl, ˈkwesh-, in rapid speech ˈkwesh-nə-\

Definition of questionable 

1 obsolete : inviting inquiry

2 obsolete : liable to judicial inquiry or action

3 : affording reason for being doubted, questioned, or challenged : not certain or exact : problematic milk of questionable purity a questionable decision

4 : attended by well-grounded suspicions of being immoral, crude, false, or unsound : dubious questionable motives

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Other Words from questionable

questionableness noun
questionably \ˈkwes-​chə-​nə-​blē, ˈkwesh-​, in rapid speech ˈkwesh-​nə-​ \ adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for questionable

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

Examples of questionable in a Sentence

The truth of the statements was highly questionable. The water available in the village is of questionable quality. a man of questionable character They acquired the money through questionable means. The company is facing a questionable future.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Then in 2017, after the PRI won in elections in the states of Coahuila and Mexico, regulators investigated questionable spending in the campaigns. Danny Hakim, New York Times, "Mexico’s Hardball Politics Get Even Harder as PRI Fights to Hold On to Power," 24 June 2018 The House Oversight Committee's investigation into Pruitt is just one of at least a dozen federal inquiries the EPA chief is facing over his questionable spending and management decisions at the agency. Dino Grandoni, Washington Post, "The Energy 202: EPA delays public-records requests to avoid questions about Scott Pruitt, Democrat says," 12 June 2018 University of California regents this week plan to scrutinize the budget of President Janet Napolitano, whose office came under political fire last year for questionable spending and murky accounting. Joy Resmovits,, "The USC gynecologist scandal, unions battle Austin Beutner, a message for Betsy DeVos: What's new in education," 25 May 2018 Scott Pruitt's tenure as head of the US' Environmental Protection Agency has often been bogged down in scandals involving questionable spending and the unjustifiable rollback of regulations. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "EPA boots reporters from meeting on chemicals called a PR disaster," 22 May 2018 Its profits and stock prices were down, and stories about the company’s questionable spending were being published after its holiday celebrations. Helena_fitzgerald, The Verge, "The decline of Snapchat and the secret joy of internet ghost towns," 18 May 2018 The Enquirer investigation also raised questions about questionable spending on items such as car allowances and a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon. Sharon Coolidge,, "Cincinnati solicitor hired a locksmith to get into Park Board closet," 2 May 2018 Other Trump cabinet members have already gotten the heave-ho, after questionable spending came to light. Linda Feldmann, The Christian Science Monitor, "Is Trump draining the swamp – or is the water rising?," 6 Apr. 2018 Ashley DelBianco, who as executive director of the board first complained to Butkovitz about questionable spending by the former chairwoman, will remain until her replacement is named. Claudia Vargas,, "Kenney names new board to oversee beleaguered Mayor's Fund," 22 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'questionable.' 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 questionable

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

30 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for questionable

The first known use of questionable was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for questionable



English Language Learners Definition of questionable

: not likely to be true or correct : giving reason to doubt or question something

: likely to be bad : not worthy of trust

: not certain : unknown or undecided


ques·​tion·​able | \ˈkwes-chə-nə-bəl \

Kids Definition of questionable

1 : not certain or exact : doubtful water of questionable purity

2 : not believed to be true, sound, or proper Her motives are questionable.

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Comments on questionable

What made you want to look up questionable? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


the figure or shape of a crescent moon

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