1. doubtful; marked by or occasioning doubt: a dubious reply.
  2. of doubtful quality or propriety; questionable: a dubious compliment; a dubious transaction.
  3. of uncertain outcome: in dubious battle.
  4. wavering or hesitating in opinion; inclined to doubt.


  1. marked by or causing doubta dubious reply
  2. unsettled in mind; uncertain; doubtful
  3. of doubtful quality; untrustworthya dubious reputation
  4. not certain in outcome

1540s, from Latin dubiosus “doubtful,” from dubium “doubt,” neuter of dubius “vacillating, moving two ways, fluctuating;” figuratively “wavering in opinion, doubting, doubtful,” from duo “two” (see two), with a sense of “of two minds, undecided between two things.” Old English also used tweo “two” to mean “doubt.” Cf. doubt (v.). Related: Dubiously; dubiousness.

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