Definition of dubious in English:



  • 1Hesitating or doubting.

    ‘I was rather dubious about the whole idea’
    • ‘I was pretty dubious about it when I was a journalist, but now I think it's remarkably ineffectual.’
    • ‘I shrugged, probably dubious about the opportunity myself.’
    • ‘I was a little dubious about this tour from the outset.’
    • ‘And it is that part that, I think, we are a little dubious about.’
    • ‘Reading the script beforehand, I had been dubious about anyone performing it as a one-person show.’
    • ‘However, councillors were dubious about visiting the site.’
    • ‘He may have been dubious about some of the more outlandish changes that had occurred in journalism but it was always in a good-humoured way.’
    • ‘I was dubious about the composition project, until I heard the music.’
    • ‘He is similarly dubious about the suggestion that the protests were incited by older activists.’
    • ‘‘I am very dubious about this sort of thing,’ added Dr Fitzpatrick.’
    • ‘She was a bit dubious about it at first but now she is getting used to it and people adore her everywhere we go.’
    • ‘One direct result of this vicious circle was that many parents remained dubious about the quality of non-government education.’
    • ‘I am also extremely dubious about grand projects.’
    • ‘They are deeply dubious about whether he has succeeded at all on most domestic issues.’
    • ‘‘People who might be dubious about standing somewhere waiting for a bus may be more encouraged to do so if they know exactly when the bus is due,’ he said.’
    • ‘I have become more dubious about the last point.’
    • ‘‘At first I was a bit dubious about going back to Bradford from Otley, but now I think the move is the best thing that we have ever done,’ he said.’
    • ‘To work the sanctions would have to be ‘short, sharp and painful’ but an official report was dubious about their effectiveness.’
    • ‘I'm just a bit more dubious about the odds of this happening than Hewitt.’
    • ‘I'm not objecting to the Food Museum, of course, but I am somewhat dubious about the prospect of a hundred thousand visitors per year.’
    doubtful, uncertain, unsure, in doubt, hesitant
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  • 2Not to be relied upon; suspect.

    ‘extremely dubious assumptions’
    • ‘Many of us were perhaps blinded by this hitherto unknown quality of sincerity, allowing it to eclipse the dubious methodologies upon which the plethora of information was based.’
    • ‘Even if you make the dubious assumption that all of them were truly civilians, it is not surprising that so many died.’
    • ‘They entail, furthermore, the dubious assumption that cultural change moves in only one direction: from top to bottom.’
    • ‘The dirty little secret of the polling industry is that, all too often, its findings are based on flawed methodology and dubious assumptions.’
    • ‘Red-hot rage may seem in order when the country's values have been trampled upon by a government with a dubious claim to legitimacy.’
    • ‘For some of these reports, Miller appears to have relied on highly dubious sources.’
    • ‘You are asking us to be careful about adopting assumptions which are founded on rather dubious ground and would subvert our intentions, good as they may be.’
    • ‘As such, it asks us to accept the dubious assumptions that interval returns are normally distributed and independent.’
    • ‘An increasingly isolated figure, he has come to rely on authorities whose expertise in the relevant disciplines is dubious.’
    • ‘An important part of the answer, I think, lies in exposing a number of dubious assumptions about human psychology.’
    • ‘Such a belief, the Senate report said, relied on the use of increasingly dubious sources and a dismissal of dissenting views.’
    • ‘The argument for higher charges makes a number of dubious assumptions.’
    • ‘To postulate the reality of the latter is in fact very dubious, because it relies on a contestable empirical claim that simply cannot be sustained.’
    • ‘As I elucidated in the last section, misleading assumptions and dubious claims about western alienation abound.’
    • ‘Finally, the model's dubious assumption is that current valuation levels are approximately correct.’
    • ‘Such claims, he contends, rely on slippery language and dubious assumptions.’
    • ‘Instead, a dubious logic pervades, upon which we base entire networks of conclusions and imperatives.’
    • ‘But here, as elsewhere, Smith's philosophical assumptions are highly dubious.’
    • ‘His democratic credentials are highly dubious and suspect.’
    • ‘However, those often rely on dubious assumptions.’
    suspicious, suspect, under suspicion, untrustworthy, unreliable, undependable, questionable
    equivocal, ambiguous, indeterminate, indefinite, unclear, vague, imprecise, hazy, puzzling, enigmatic, cryptic
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    1. 2.1 Morally suspect.
      ‘timeshare has been brought into disrepute by dubious sales methods’
      • ‘Before the war, the submarine was regarded as a morally dubious weapon, subject to international agreements.’
      • ‘Philosophy aims only at the truth, not at mere persuasion regardless of truth, which is a dubious enterprise in both its intentions and its methods.’
      • ‘Ray is not a good father, as evidenced by his empty fridge and dubious methods of interacting with his kids.’
      • ‘I listed at the beginning the most usual procedures used to provide assistance in conception, but deferred discussion of the two methods that are most morally dubious.’
      • ‘He just enjoys exploring the morally dubious aspects of it, and exploring difficult situations.’
      • ‘They are engaged in tax avoidance, which is entirely legal, though you might argue it's morally dubious.’
      • ‘Characters are rootless, without orientation, almost unaware that their behaviour is morally dubious.’
      • ‘The approach outline above seems to offer the best prospect for exposing the administration's dubious motives and methods.’
      • ‘It shows him as morally dubious - he wants the men to die so he can finish his book, but he pretends otherwise - and intellectually cold.’
      • ‘But the public interest would not be served by people of dubious motives giving false information by doctoring the official record.’
      • ‘Last time I solved it myself by medically dubious methods and I'd rather not do that again!’
      • ‘For a start, the whole idea of reciprocity and empowerment seems morally dubious to me.’
      • ‘However, thanks to dubious sales techniques, it is widely mis-sold.’
      • ‘They weren't always on the side of good, and even when they were, they still regularly made morally dubious judgements, but they were always true to their natures.’
      • ‘The credit industry has been accused of using ‘sneaky tricks and dubious sales practices’ to boost profits.’
      • ‘Even those which are imaginative and intelligently put together are often morally dubious.’
      • ‘Matters come to a head when the star is expelled from the team, leading to a climax at once disturbingly intense and morally dubious.’
      • ‘Like Den, he gets involved in dubious deals with shady characters, and the source of his money is not always entirely clear.’
      • ‘David Weinberger has some interesting things to say about the game, and the morally dubious world it allows you to enter.’
      • ‘The result is a surreal, hypnotic journey into morally ambiguous territory, led by an increasingly dubious tour guide.’
      suspicious, suspect, under suspicion, untrustworthy, unreliable, undependable, questionable
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    2. 2.2 Of questionable value.
      ‘he holds the dubious distinction of being relegated with every club he has played for’
      • ‘In fact, it could be argued that 15 Minutes earns the dubious distinction of being the most cynical film ever made about cynicism.’
      • ‘For an extended look at the dubious value of a humanities education in particular see here.’
      • ‘On the flip side, the district has the dubious distinction of registering the highest number of cases of atrocities against women.’
      • ‘In a time of government cutbacks, as a tax-payer I am unconvinced that we need to fund more programs of dubious value.’
      • ‘Aurillac, a lovely city at the foot of the Cantal mountains, has the dubious distinction of being the prefecture in France furthest from a motorway.’
      • ‘Another Horsforth man claimed the dubious distinction of becoming the first English serviceman to be captured by the Germans - just one day after war broke out.’
      • ‘2004 will finish with a hat trick of games against the teams enjoying the dubious distinction of being below us in the league.’
      • ‘It's all in a good cause, people used to say, but Elizabeth felt that almost any action she took at this point would be of dubious value.’
      • ‘His primary sources include most if not all the standard references on the subject along with one or two of dubious value.’
      • ‘Is it perhaps yet another organisation designed to make money by providing endorsements of dubious value?’
      • ‘The region has the dubious distinction of having Europe's worst service station.’
      • ‘If so, that would give Florida the dubious distinction of getting hit by four of the six most costly hurricanes on record within six weeks.’
      • ‘In fact, so entrenched was the belief in many quarters that official statistics were of dubious value to social researchers that the view took root that they were virtually worthless.’
      • ‘The knee-jerk reaction is to dismiss such training as faddish and of dubious value.’
      • ‘When it comes to sharing your faith, gimmicks are of dubious value.’
      • ‘O'Toole holds the dubious distinction of seven Best Actor Oscar nominations without winning the actual Oscar.’
      • ‘It has the dubious distinction of being probably the only luxury hotel in the world to be blown up by a future prime minister of its own country.’
      • ‘And it spends billions each year in social welfare programs that are endlessly duplicative and of dubious value.’
      • ‘Tramore has drawn the short straw yet again and has the dubious distinction of hosting the final game of 2003 on Sunday, 28th December.’
      • ‘For these reasons, reflective foil on board insulation is of dubious value.’
      equivocal, ambiguous, indeterminate, indefinite, unclear, vague, imprecise, hazy, puzzling, enigmatic, cryptic
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Mid 16th century (in dubious (sense 2)): from Latin dubiosus, from dubium ‘a doubt’, neuter of dubius ‘doubtful’.