What does doubtful mean?

Definitions for doubtful
ˈdaʊt fəldoubt·ful

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word doubtful.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. doubtful, dubious, dubitable, in question(p)adjective

    open to doubt or suspicion

    "the candidate's doubtful past"; "he has a dubious record indeed"; "what one found uncertain the other found dubious or downright false"; "it was more than dubitable whether the friend was as influential as she thought"- Karen Horney

  2. doubtful, dubiousadjective

    fraught with uncertainty or doubt

    "they were doubtful that the cord would hold"; "it was doubtful whether she would be admitted"; "dubious about agreeing to go"

  3. doubtful, tentativeadjective

    unsettled in mind or opinion

    "drew a few tentative conclusions"


  1. doubtfuladjective

    Subject to, or causing doubt

  2. doubtfuladjective

    Experiencing or showing doubt

  3. doubtfuladjective

    Undecided or of uncertain outcome

  4. doubtfuladjective

    Fearsome, dreadful.

  5. doubtfuladjective

    Improbable or unlikely

  6. doubtfuladjective

    Suspicious, or of dubious character

  7. doubtfuladjective

    Unclear or unreliable

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Doubtfuladjective

    Etymology: doubt and full.

    Methinks I should know you, and know this man;
    Yet I am doubtful. William Shakespeare, King Lear.

    In handling the right of a war, I am not willing to intermix matter doubtful with that which is out of doubt; for as in capital causes, wherein but one man’s life is in question, the evidence ought to be clear; so much more in a judgment upon a war, which is capital to thousands. Francis Bacon.

    In doubtful cases, reason still determines for the safer side; especially if the case be not only doubtful, but also highly concerning, and the venture be a soul, and an eternity. South.

    Themetes first, ’tis doubtful whether hir’d,
    Or so the Trojan destiny requir’d,
    Mov’d, that the ramparts might be broken down,
    To lodge the monster fabrick in the town. John Dryden, Æn.

    Our manner is always to cast a doubtful and a more suspicious eye towards that, over which we know we have least power. Richard Hooker, Dedication.

    With doubtful feet and wavering resolution
    I come, still dreading thy displeasure, Samson. John Milton, Agonist.


  1. doubtful

    Doubt is a mental state in which the mind remains suspended between two or more contradictory propositions, unable to be certain of any of them. Doubt on an emotional level is indecision between belief and disbelief. It may involve uncertainty, distrust or lack of conviction on certain facts, actions, motives, or decisions. Doubt can result in delaying or rejecting relevant action out of concern for mistakes or missed opportunities.


  1. doubtful

    Doubtful refers to a state of uncertainty or lack of conviction about something. It might indicate skepticism, disbelief, lack of faith or a feeling of hesitation to accept or practice something as being true or reliable.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Doubtfuladjective

    not settled in opinion; undetermined; wavering; hesitating in belief; also used, metaphorically, of the body when its action is affected by such a state of mind; as, we are doubtful of a fact, or of the propriety of a measure

  2. Doubtfuladjective

    admitting of doubt; not obvious, clear, or certain; questionable; not decided; not easy to be defined, classed, or named; as, a doubtful case, hue, claim, title, species, and the like

  3. Doubtfuladjective

    characterized by ambiguity; dubious; as, a doubtful expression; a doubtful phrase

  4. Doubtfuladjective

    of uncertain issue or event

  5. Doubtfuladjective

    fearful; apprehensive; suspicious

British National Corpus

  1. Adjectives Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'doubtful' in Adjectives Frequency: #883

How to pronounce doubtful?

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  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of doubtful in Chaldean Numerology is: 4

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of doubtful in Pythagorean Numerology is: 2

Examples of doubtful in a Sentence

  1. David Grantham:

    It’s doubtful that it was merely a coincidence, merely a mentally disturbed, emotionally disturbed person who randomly chose a synagogue, this synagogue is in a residential area – you would have to find it. You wouldn’t stumble across it, and there are plenty of synagogues closer to the prison where ‘Lady Al Qaeda’ is being held.

  2. Machiavelli:

    It must be considered that there is nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle, than to initiate a new order of things. For the reformer has enemies in all those who would profit by the old order, only lukewarm defenders in all those who would profit by the new.

  3. Shaina Louis:

    Prior to Birthright AFRICA, I had a lot of pent up resentment and antagonism due to a history that I felt my people had no say in. For those of us in the diaspora, our history, according to the textbooks, starts with slavery. I was doubtful and kind of cynical about what the future held not only for me as an individual, but also for black people as a whole.

  4. Ellen Fitzpatrick:

    The message is one of very brisk activism on the part of The President to address the crisis at hand, which of course is what Franklin Roosevelt did as well, i think the level of activism on Biden's part is very, very notable. President Biden ambition is great. President Biden success may be more doubtful. But I think this shift in tone is itself important.

  5. Staff Mark Meadows:

    Ive become extremely doubtful that well be able to make a deal if it goes well beyond Friday.

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Translations for doubtful

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"doubtful." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 13 Apr. 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/doubtful>.

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    (law) the act of substituting of one creditor for another
    A subrogation
    B sundog
    C congius
    D calcaneus

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