verb (used with object)
- to be uncertain about; consider questionable or unlikely; hesitate to believe.
- to distrust.
- Archaic. to fear; be apprehensive about.
verb (used without object)
- to be uncertain about something; be undecided in opinion or belief.
- a feeling of uncertainty about the truth, reality, or nature of something.
- a state of affairs such as to occasion uncertainty.
- Obsolete. fear; dread.
- beyond the shadow of a doubt, with certainty; definitely.Also beyond a doubt, beyond doubt.
- in doubt, in a state of uncertainty or suspense: His appointment to the position is still in doubt.
- no doubt,
- certainly: There is no doubt an element of truth in what you say.
- without doubt, unquestionably; certainly.
- uncertainty about the truth, fact, or existence of something (esp in the phrases in doubt, without doubt, beyond a shadow of doubt, etc)
- (often plural) lack of belief in or conviction about somethingall his doubts about the project disappeared
- an unresolved difficulty, point, etc
- philosophy the methodical device, esp in the philosophy of Descartes, of identifying certain knowledge as the residue after rejecting any proposition which might, however improbably, be false
- obsolete fear
- give someone the benefit of the doubt to presume someone suspected of guilt to be innocent; judge leniently
- no doubt almost certainly
- (tr; may take a clause as object) to be inclined to disbelieveI doubt we are late
- (tr) to distrust or be suspicious ofhe doubted their motives
- (intr) to feel uncertainty or be undecided
- (tr; may take a clause as object) Scot to be inclined to believe
- (tr) archaic to fear
- I wouldn’t doubt someone Irish I would expect nothing else from someone
early 13c., “to dread, fear,” from Old French doter “doubt, be doubtful; be afraid,” from Latin dubitare “to doubt, question, hesitate, waver in opinion” (related to dubius “uncertain;” see dubious), originally “to have to choose between two things.”
The sense of “fear” developed in Old French and was passed on to English. Meaning “to be uncertain” is attested in English from c.1300. The -b- was restored 14c. by scribes in imitation of Latin. Replaced Old English tweogan (noun twynung), from tweon “two,” on notion of “of two minds” or the choice of two implied in Latin dubitare (cf. German Zweifel “doubt,” from zwei “two”).
early 13c., from Old French dote (11c.) “fear, dread; doubt,” from doter (see doubt (v.)).
Also, beyond the shadow of a doubt. Certainly so, undoubtedly so, as in Beyond a doubt this is the best view of the valley. This phrase, along with the earlier without doubt (dating from c. 1300), asserts the truth of some statement. W.S. Gilbert’s version, in The Gondoliers (1889), is: “Of that there is no manner of doubt—no probable, possible shadow of doubt—no possible doubt whatever.” In this context shadow means “a trace or slight suggestion.” Another variant is beyond a reasonable doubt. This phrase is often used in court when the judge instructs the jury that they must be convinced of the accused’s guilt or innocence beyond a reasonable doubt; reasonable here means “logical and rational.” Also see beyond question; no doubt.
see beyond a doubt; cast doubt on; give the benefit of the doubt; no doubt; shadow of a doubt.