Why was clemency trending last week?


[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
  • With undergraduates, I have more success being a (sometimes false) advocate of a text that they find dubious.
  • Parents have turned instead to dubious, and often risky, alternative therapies.
  • While they're nice little machines in general, I have remained dubious at what they can offer for the price.
  • When online travel agencies started rolling out smartphone apps, I was dubious.
  • His memoir is a blend of compelling war narrative and dubious soapboxing.
  • And they can sometimes dispense dubious advice that students might be better off ignoring.
  • The evolutionary advantages mentioned here seem dubious to me.
  • There are moments that seem dubious, but they never impede the fast-paced plot.
  • The study being done is of dubious value.
  • They're decided by a tiny number of wholly unrepresentative people with dubious to nonexistent credentials.
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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