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[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 dubiously
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • N–no,” replied Will, dubiously; “only thought I heard something.

    Will of the Mill George Manville Fenn
  • "Aunt Eleanor positively forbade that," said Frances dubiously.

  • "Well, we won't want to get an unpopular fellow on the eleven," said the coach, dubiously.

    Dick Hamilton's Cadet Days Howard R. Garis
  • She had followed him to the wall, and he looked—at her dubiously.

    The Patrician John Galsworthy
  • "Oui," ventured she, dubiously, the lightning playing deep back in her eyes.

    The Grandissimes George Washington Cable
  • "It's a question how to find their trail," the boy answered, dubiously.

  • “I don't know but I'm a fool to try and carry this thing out,” said he, dubiously surveying the pipe.

    Darkness and Dawn George Allan England
  • "He hasn't done so well yet," objected Mr. Watson, dubiously.

  • “Nor I; but I suppose we must face the music,” answered Scott, dubiously.

    Up The Baltic Oliver Optic
British Dictionary definitions for dubiously


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 dubiously



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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