Meaning of “doubtful” in the English Dictionary

"doubtful" in British English

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doubtfuladjective

uk /ˈdaʊt.fəl/ us /ˈdaʊt.fəl/

B2 If you are doubtful about something, you are uncertain about it:

The teacher is doubtful about having parents working as classroom assistants.

B2 If a situation is doubtful, it is unlikely to happen or to be successful:

It is doubtful whether/if they ever reached the summit before they died.
It was doubtful that the money would ever be found again.

More examples

  • It is doubtful whether the government will ever agree to their demands.
  • We were doubtful about the product's usefulness from the start.
  • It now looks doubtful that the building work will be completed on time.
  • I'm a bit doubtful about whether to take on the job, as the hours are pretty unsociable.
  • Many of us are doubtful about the value of these new educational strategies.
doubtfully
adverb uk /ˈdaʊt.fəl.i/ us /ˈdaʊt.fəl.i/

"Are you telling me the truth?" he asked doubtfully.

(Definition of “doubtful” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"doubtful" in American English

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doubtfuladjective

us /ˈdɑʊt·fəl/

uncertain or unlikely:

[ + (that) clause ] It was doubtful (that) the money would ever be found.
She gave me a long, doubtful look (= look full of doubt) and told me to wait.

(Definition of “doubtful” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"doubtful" in Business English

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doubtfuladjective

uk /ˈdaʊtfəl/ us ACCOUNTING

used to describe debts or accounts that are unlikely to be paid:

The Company has established an allowance for doubtful accounts based on the credit risk of specific customers and historical trends.
See also

(Definition of “doubtful” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)