beyond a doubt

doubt

[dout]
verb (used with object)
1.
to be uncertain about; consider questionable or unlikely; hesitate to believe.
2.
3.
Archaic. to fear; be apprehensive about.
verb (used without object)
4.
to be uncertain about something; be undecided in opinion or belief.
noun
5.
a feeling of uncertainty about the truth, reality, or nature of something.
7.
a state of affairs such as to occasion uncertainty.
8.
Obsolete. fear; dread.
Idioms
9.
beyond the shadow of a doubt, with certainty; definitely. Also, beyond a doubt, beyond doubt.
10.
in doubt, in a state of uncertainty or suspense: His appointment to the position is still in doubt.
11.
no doubt,
a.
probably.
b.
certainly: There is no doubt an element of truth in what you say.
12.
without doubt, unquestionably; certainly.

Origin:
1175–1225; (v.) Middle English douten < Anglo-French, Old French douter < Latin dubitāre to waver, hesitate, be uncertain (frequentative of OL dubāre), equivalent to dub- doubt + -it- frequentative suffix + -āre infinitive suffix; (noun) Middle English doute < Anglo-French, Old French, derivative of the v.

doubtable, adjective
doubtably, adverb
doubter, noun
doubtingly, adverb
doubtingness, noun
nondoubtable, adjective
nondoubter, noun
nondoubting, adjective
nondoubtingly, adverb
overdoubt, verb (used with object)
predoubt, noun, verb
predoubter, noun
undoubtable, adjective
undoubting, adjective


1, 2. mistrust, suspect, question. 5. indecision, irresolution.


Doubt and doubtful may be followed by a subordinate clause beginning with that, whether, or if: I doubt that (or whether or if) the story is true. It is doubtful that (or whether or if) the story is true. There is some doubt that (or whether or if) the story is true. In negative or interrogative sentences, that almost always introduces the subordinate clause: I do not doubt that the story is true. Is it doubtful that the story is true? Is there any doubt that the story is true?
The expressions doubt but and doubt but that occur in all varieties of standard speech and writing: I don't doubt but she is sincere. There is no doubt but that the charges will affect his career. Doubt but what occurs mainly in informal speech and writing: There is no doubt but what the rainy weather will hurt the crops.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
doubt (daʊt)
 
n
1.  uncertainty about the truth, fact, or existence of something (esp in the phrases in doubt, without doubt, beyond a shadow of doubt, etc)
2.  (often plural) lack of belief in or conviction about something: all his doubts about the project disappeared
3.  an unresolved difficulty, point, etc
4.  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
5.  obsolete fear
6.  give someone the benefit of the doubt to presume someone suspected of guilt to be innocent; judge leniently
7.  no doubt almost certainly
 
vb
8.  (tr; may take a clause as object) to be inclined to disbelieve: I doubt we are late
9.  (tr) to distrust or be suspicious of: he doubted their motives
10.  (intr) to feel uncertainty or be undecided
11.  (Scot) (tr; may take a clause as object) to be inclined to believe
12.  archaic (tr) to fear
13.  (Irish) I wouldn't doubt someone I would expect nothing else from someone
 
[C13: from Old French douter, from Latin dubitāre]
 
usage  Where a clause follows doubt in a positive sentence, it was formerly considered correct to use whether (I doubt whether he will come ), but now if and that are also acceptable. In negative statements, doubt is followed by that: I do not doubt that he is telling the truth. In such sentences, but (I do not doubt but that he is telling the truth) is redundant
 
'doubtable
 
adj
 
'doubtably
 
adv
 
'doubter
 
n
 
'doubtingly
 
adv

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

doubt
early 13c., from O.Fr. douter, from L. dubitare "hesitate, waver in opinion" (related to dubius "uncertain"), originally "to have to choose between two things." The sense of "fear" developed in O.Fr. and was passed on to English. The -b- was restored 14c. by scribes in imitation of L. Replaced O.E. tweogan
(noun twynung), from tweon "two," on notion of "of two minds" or the choice of two implied in Latin dubitare (cf. Ger. Zweifel "doubt," from zwei "two").
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

beyond a doubt

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 doubtno probable, possible shadow of doubtno 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.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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