Definition of dubious in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈd(y)o͞obēəs/


1Hesitating or doubting: Alex looked dubious, but complied
More example sentences
  • And it is that part that, I think, we are a little dubious about.
  • ‘At first I was a bit dubious about going back to Bradford from Otley, but now I think the move is the best thing that we have ever done,’ he said.
  • ‘People who might be dubious about standing somewhere waiting for a bus may be more encouraged to do so if they know exactly when the bus is due,’ he said.
2Not to be relied upon; suspect: extremely dubious assumptions
More example sentences
  • However, those often rely on dubious assumptions.
  • Such claims, he contends, rely on slippery language and dubious assumptions.
  • Instead, a dubious logic pervades, upon which we base entire networks of conclusions and imperatives.
2.1Morally suspect: time-sharing has been brought into disrepute by dubious sales methods
More example sentences
  • I listed at the beginning the most usual procedures used to provide assistance in conception, but deferred discussion of the two methods that are most morally dubious.
  • They weren't always on the side of good, and even when they were, they still regularly made morally dubious judgements, but they were always true to their natures.
  • They are engaged in tax avoidance, which is entirely legal, though you might argue it's morally dubious.
2.2Of questionable value: she earned the dubious distinction of being the lowest-paid teacher in the nation
More example sentences
  • In fact, so entrenched was the belief in many quarters that official statistics were of dubious value to social researchers that the view took root that they were virtually worthless.
  • And it spends billions each year in social welfare programs that are endlessly duplicative and of dubious value.
  • When it comes to sharing your faith, gimmicks are of dubious value.



Pronunciation: /ˈd(y)o͞obēəslē/
Example sentences
  • Lorde frowned dubiously but before he could reply, there came a knock at the door.
  • Much of what Simpson says should encourage self-consciousness about the costs of an unthinking appeal to dubiously concrete subject positions.
  • Well, there's an example of synergy right there, albeit synergy of a negative and dubiously profitable kind.


Pronunciation: /ˈd(y)o͞obēəsnəs/
Example sentences
  • All I got was a stuck record that repeated my misdemeanours in a tone of voice that left me in no doubt as to the dubiousness of my credentials, pedigree and character.
  • My first reaction, frankly, is one of dubiousness.
  • This was probably not the best time to take an online IQ test of dubious scientific value; considering the inherent dubiousness of IQ tests to begin with.


Mid 16th century (sense 2): from Latin dubiosus, from dubium 'a doubt', neuter of dubius 'doubtful'.

  • doubt from Middle English:

    In English doubt goes back to Latin dubitare ‘to hesitate, waver’, from dubium ‘doubt’ (from which dubious (mid 16th century) also derives). The immediate sources were French forms in which the -b- had been lost, and people never pronounced the b- in doubt—it was a learned spelling to show that the writer knew the original Latin word. The first doubting Thomas to refuse to believe something without proof was the apostle Thomas. In the biblical account Thomas refused to believe that Christ was risen again until he could see and touch the wounds inflicted during the Crucifixion.

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Syllabification: du·bi·ous

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