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Supposedly vs. Supposably


[doo-bee-uh s, dyoo-] /ˈdu bi əs, ˈdyu-/
doubtful; marked by or occasioning doubt:
a dubious reply.
of doubtful quality or propriety; questionable:
a dubious compliment; a dubious transaction.
of uncertain outcome:
in dubious battle.
wavering or hesitating in opinion; inclined to doubt.
Origin of dubious
1540-50; < Latin dubius; see -ous
Related forms
dubiously, adverb
dubiousness, noun
superdubious, adjective
superdubiously, adverb
superdubiousness, noun
undubious, adjective
undubiously, adverb
undubiousness, noun
1. equivocal, ambiguous, obscure, unclear. 4. undecided, uncertain, hesitant, fluctuating. See doubtful. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for dubious
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Micky learned afterward that Slade had a dubious friend in the vicinity who possessed such conveniences.

    The Lash Olin L. Lyman
  • "I don't know exactly," replied the doctor in a dubious tone.

    Weighed and Wanting George MacDonald
  • Three dubious days of blind darkness we wander on the deep, as many nights without a star.

  • They liked him, but they were dubious of his right to represent the Tory spirit.

    Changing Winds St. John G. Ervine
  • Such are the opinions expressed about the loadstone attracting (or the general sense of each), all dubious and untrustworthy.

British Dictionary definitions for dubious


marked by or causing doubt: a dubious reply
unsettled in mind; uncertain; doubtful
of doubtful quality; untrustworthy: a dubious reputation
not certain in outcome
Derived Forms
dubiously, adverb
dubiousness, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin dubius wavering
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for dubious

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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