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The noun is from Middle English doute, from Anglo-Norman and Old French doute, from Latin dubita. The modern spelling is probably under the influence of Middle French doubte.

The verb is from Middle English douten, from Anglo-Norman douter, from Old French douter, from Latin dubitō, from the noun. Replaced Middle English tweonien ‎(to doubt) (from Old English twēonian, compare Old English twēo ‎(doubt, duplicity)). The modern spelling is probably under the influence of Middle French doubter.


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doubt ‎(countable and uncountable, plural doubts)

  1. Uncertainty, disbelief.
    There was some doubt as to who the child's real father was.
    • 1906, Stanley J. Weyman, Chippinge Borough, chapterI:
      It was April 22, 1831, and a young man was walking down Whitehall in the direction of Parliament Street. []. He halted opposite the Privy Gardens, and, with his face turned skywards, listened until the sound of the Tower guns smote again on the ear and dispelled his doubts.

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doubt ‎(third-person singular simple present doubts, present participle doubting, simple past and past participle doubted)

  1. (transitive, intransitive) To lack confidence in; to disbelieve, question, or suspect.
    He doubted that was really what you meant.
    • Hooker
      Even in matters divine, concerning some things, we may lawfully doubt []
    • Dryden
      To try your love and make you doubt of mine.
  2. (archaic) To fear; to suspect.
    • 1819, Lord Byron, Don Juan, I.186:
      He fled, like Joseph, leaving it; but there, / I doubt, all likeness ends between the pair.
  3. (obsolete) To fear; to be apprehensive of.
    • R. of Gloucester
      Edmond [was a] good man and doubted God.
    • Shakespeare
      I doubt some foul play.
    • Spenser
      I of doubted danger had no fear.
  4. (obsolete) To fill with fear; to affright.
    • 1861, George Eliot, “Chapter 21”, in Silas Marner:
      It's dark to me, Mrs Winthrop, that is; I doubt it'll be dark to the last.
    • Beaumont and Fletcher
      The virtues of the valiant Caratach / More doubt me than all Britain.


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