questionable

adjective

ques·​tion·​able ˈkwes-chə-nə-bəl How to pronounce questionable (audio)
ˈkwesh-,
 in rapid speech  ˈkwesh-nə-
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
questionableness noun
questionably
ˈkwes-chə-nə-blē How to pronounce questionable (audio)
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

Example Sentences

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.
Recent Examples on the Web The Patriots, who haven't scored a touchdown in their last seven trips inside the 20-yard line, were 0-for-1 in red-zone situations Thursday — and the play-calling and situational offense have been highly questionable all season. Richard Morin, USA TODAY, 2 Dec. 2022 Some lenders say questionable identity-theft claims often arrive soon after people have maxed out their credit cards. Annamaria Andriotis, WSJ, 1 Dec. 2022 In addition to covid concerns, our district has had some extreme voices, including parents who want to ban books, anti-LGBTQ rhetoric among parents, and some questionable school board members. Steven Johnson, Washington Post, 30 Nov. 2022 Plus, a series of algorithm changes—and some questionable attempts to copy features from other apps—have disenchanted many of the users who are sticking around. Kate Lindsay, The Atlantic, 30 Nov. 2022 For now, experts outside China are not revising their thinking on transmission risks, citing the report's missing genetic data and other questionable conclusions. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, 29 Nov. 2022 Nembhard missed a week with a left knee bruise and was listed as questionable when the night began. Dustin Dopirak, The Indianapolis Star, 29 Nov. 2022 Some of the questionable history Freeze is carrying to Auburn isn’t considered all that bad these days. Joseph Goodman | Jgoodman@al.com, al, 28 Nov. 2022 In the 1970s, the building became the backdrop for protests by Chicano groups over the questionable sterilization of more than 200 mostly Latino and working-class women who came to Women’s and Children’s Hospital to deliver babies. Los Angeles Times, 27 Nov. 2022 See More

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.

Word History

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near questionable

Cite this Entry

“Questionable.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/questionable. Accessed 6 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

questionable

adjective

ques·​tion·​able ˈkwes-chə-nə-bəl How to pronounce questionable (audio)
ˈkwesh-
1
: open to doubt, question, or challenge : not certain or exact
milk of questionable purity
a questionable decision
2
: believed to be bad, false, or unsound : dubious
questionable motives
questionably adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on questionable

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