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From doubt +‎ -ful.


  • IPA(key): /ˈdaʊtfəl/
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: doubt‧ful


doubtful (comparative more doubtful, superlative most doubtful)

  1. Subject to, or causing doubt.
  2. Experiencing or showing doubt, sceptical.
  3. Undecided or of uncertain outcome.
  4. (obsolete) Fearsome, dreadful.
    • 1485 July 31, Thomas Malory, “(please specify the chapter)”, in [Le Morte Darthur], (please specify the book number), [London]: Enprynted and fynysshed in thabbey Westmestre [by William Caxton], OCLC 71490786; republished as H[einrich] Oskar Sommer, editor, Le Morte Darthur by Syr Thomas Malory; the Original Edition of William Caxton Now Reprinted and Edited with an Introduction and Glossary by H. Oskar Sommer, Ph.D.; with an Essay on Malory’s Prose Style by Andrew Lang, London: Published by David Nutt, in the Strand, 1889, OCLC 890162034:
      , Bk.XIV, Ch.vii:
      ‘With whom,’ seyde Sir Percivale, ‘shall I fyght?’ ‘With the moste douteful champion of the worlde [].’
  5. Improbable or unlikely.
  6. Suspicious, or of dubious character.
  7. Unclear or unreliable.
    • 1922, E.R. Eddison, The Worm Ouroboros:
      The pupils of her great eyes were large in the doubtful lamplight, swallowing their green fires in deep pools of mystery and darkness.



doubtful (plural doubtfuls)

  1. A doubtful person or thing.
    • 1976, Kenneth Gibbons, ‎Donald Cameron Rowat, Political Corruption in Canada: Cases, Causes and Cures (page 45)
      They had their lists of Liberals and of the doubtfuls who still remained doubtful. As the election drew near, the force of the whole organization was turned upon these unrepentant doubtfuls.