doubt


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to doubt: Reasonable Doubt

plant a/the seed of doubt (in someone's mind)

To cause someone to have doubts, worries, or concerns (about something); to introduce someone to a doubtful or worrisome idea. The candidate was doing very well in the polls six months ago, but it seems that this smear campaign has been effective in planting a seed of doubt in the minds of voters. Recent economic turbulence in the Eurozone has planted the seed of doubt about the strength of the economy's recovery. Every time you act suspiciously like that, it plants a seed of doubt in my mind about your fidelity.
See also: doubt, of, plant, seed

sow a/the seed of doubt (in someone's mind)

To cause someone to have doubts, worries, or concerns (about something); to introduce someone to a doubtful or worrisome idea. The candidate was doing very well in the polls six months ago, but it seems that this smear campaign has been effective in sowing a seed of doubt in the minds of voters. Recent economic turbulence in the Eurozone has sown the seed of doubt about the strength of the economy's recovery. Jim's suspicious behavior sowed a seed of doubt in Jenny's mind about his fidelity.
See also: doubt, of, seed, sow

doubting Thomas

A skeptic. A reference to the New Testament story about the Apostle Thomas, who refused to believe that Jesus had risen from the dead until he saw him in person. Lisa's husband was a real doubting Thomas when she told him she'd won the lottery. He demanded to check the ticket himself.
See also: doubt, Thomas

in doubt

Uncertain; not concrete or definitive. If you keep missing meetings, your future with this company will be in doubt.
See also: doubt

room for doubt

A chance that something might not be as straight-forward or true as it seems. Because there is still room for doubt in this case, I think we need to review the facts before even considering our verdict.
See also: doubt, room

benefit of the doubt

a judgment in one's favor when the evidence is neither for one nor against one. (*Typically: get ~; have ~; give someone ~.) I was right between a B and an A. I got the benefit of the doubtan A. I thought I should have had the benefit of the doubt, but the judge made me pay a fine.
See also: benefit, doubt, of

beyond a reasonable doubt

almost without any doubt. (A legal phrase.) The jury decided beyond a reasonable doubt that she had committed the crime. He was also found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
See also: beyond, doubt, reasonable

cast doubt(s) (on someone or something)

to cause someone or something to be doubted. The police cast doubt on my story. How can they cast doubt? They haven't looked into it yet. The city council cast doubt on John and his plan.
See also: cast, doubt

doubting Thomas

someone who will not easily believe something without strong proof or evidence. (Can be said of a man or a woman. From the biblical account of the apostle Thomas, who would not believe that Jesus had risen from the dead until he actually touched the risen Christ.) Mary won't believe that I have a dog until she sees it. She's such a doubting Thomas.
See also: doubt, Thomas

have doubts about someone or something

to have questions or suspicions about someone or something. I have doubts about Alice and whether she can do it. We have no doubts about the usefulness of this project.
See also: doubt, have

I doubt it.

I do not think so. Tom: Think it will rain today? Sue: I doubt it. Sally: Think you'll go to New York? Mary: I doubt it.
See also: doubt

I doubt that.

I do not believe that something is so. Bob: I'll be there exactly on time. Sue: I doubt that. John: Fred says he can't come to work because he's sick. Jane: I doubt that.
See also: doubt

no doubt

a transitional or interpretative phrase strengthening the rest of a previous sentence. Sue: Mary is giving this party for herself? Rachel: Yes. She'll expect us to bring gifts, no doubt. Mary: All this talk about war has my cousin very worried. Sue: No doubt. At his age, I don't wonder.
See also: doubt

(There is) no doubt about it.

It cannot be doubted.; It is obvious. Jane: It's really cold today. Fred: No doubt about it! Sue: Things seems to be getting more and more expensive. Tom: There's no doubt about that. Look at the price of oranges!
See also: doubt

without a doubt

a phrase expressing certainty or agreement; yes. John: This cheese is as hard as a rock. It must have been in the fridge for weeks. Fred: Without a doubt. Mary: Taxes will surely go up before I retire. Jane: Without a doubt!
See also: doubt, without

without a shadow of a doubt

 and beyond the shadow of a doubt
without the smallest amount of doubt. I am certain that I am right, without a shadow of a doubt. I felt the man was guilty beyond the shadow of a doubt.
See also: doubt, of, shadow, without

give somebody/something the benefit of the doubt

to decide you will believe someone or something People tell me I shouldn't trust him, but I'm willing to give Simon the benefit of the doubt and wait and see what he actually offers. The American people are usually willing to give the government the benefit of the doubt.
See also: benefit, doubt, give, of

cast doubt on something

to cause uncertainty about something New DNA evidence has cast doubt on the guilty verdict.
See also: cast, doubt, on

no doubt

1. certainly No doubt you have already heard about the terrible storm we just had, but did you know it blew down the steeple of the old church?
Usage notes: sometimes used in the form without (a) doubt, with the same meaning: Without doubt, he is the funniest man I know.
2. probably The schools should no doubt spend twice as much on teachers as they do now.
See also: doubt

no doubt about it

(spoken)
it is certainly true The Wizard 5100 is an amazing machine, no doubt about it.
Usage notes: usually used at the beginning or the end of a sentence, for emphasis
See also: doubt

beyond the shadow of a doubt

also without a shadow of a doubt
so that it is obviously true Letters in her father's own handwriting would prove his guilt beyond a shadow of a doubt.
See also: beyond, doubt, of, shadow

give somebody the benefit of the doubt

to believe something good about someone, rather than something bad, when you have the possibility of doing either After hearing his explanation, I was prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt.
See also: benefit, doubt, give, of

a doubting Thomas

a person who refuses to believe anything until they are given proof
Usage notes: In the Bible, Thomas would not believe that Jesus had come back from the dead until he saw him.
He's a real doubting Thomas - he simply wouldn't believe I'd won the car until he saw it with his own eyes.
See also: doubt, Thomas

beyond/without a shadow of a doubt

if something is true beyond a shadow of a doubt, there is no doubt that it is true This is without a shadow of a doubt the best film I have seen all year.
See also: beyond, doubt, of, shadow

beyond a doubt

Also, beyond the shadow of a doubt. Certainly so, undoubtedly so, as in Beyond a doubt this is the best view of the valley. This phrase, along with the earlier without doubt (dating from c. 1300), asserts the truth of some statement. W.S. Gilbert's version, in The Gondoliers (1889), is: "Of that there is no manner of doubt-no probable, possible shadow of doubt-no possible doubt whatever." In this context shadow means "a trace or slight suggestion." Another variant is beyond a reasonable doubt. This phrase is often used in court when the judge instructs the jury that they must be convinced of the accused's guilt or innocence beyond a reasonable doubt; reasonable here means "logical and rational." Also see beyond question; no doubt.
See also: beyond, doubt

cast doubt on

Cause something or someone to be questioned. For example, The prosecutor cast doubt on the wife's alibi. This idiom uses cast in the sense of "throw," a usage dating from the early 1200s.
See also: cast, doubt, on

doubting Thomas

One who is habitually doubtful. For example, He was a doubting Thomas about the coming merger, not believing it would ever happen. The term alludes to the disciple Thomas, who doubted Jesus's resurrection until he had first-hand evidence of it (John 20:24-29).
See also: doubt, Thomas

give the benefit of the doubt

Regard someone as innocent until proven otherwise; lean toward a favorable view of someone. For example, Let's give her the benefit of the doubt and assume that she's right. [Mid-1800s]
See also: benefit, doubt, give, of

no doubt

1. Probably, most likely, as in No doubt you've heard the news about Mother. [Early 1300s]
2. Also, without doubt or a doubt . Certainly, without question, as in He's guilty, no doubt, but he doesn't deserve such a long sentence, or That basketball player is without doubt the tallest man I've ever seen. [Early 1300s] Also see beyond a doubt.
See also: doubt

without doubt

Also, without a doubt. See no doubt.
See also: doubt, without

benefit of the doubt

A favorable judgment granted in the absence of full evidence.
See also: benefit, doubt, of

no doubt

1. Certainly.
2. Probably.
See also: doubt
References in classic literature ?
This account determined me to take to my heels, and, without once even looking behind me, I ran at full speed up into the hills, while the porter ran equally fast, although nearly in an opposite direction, so that, by these means, he finally made his escape with my bundles, of which I have no doubt he took excellent care -- although this is a point I cannot determine, as I do not remember that I ever beheld him again.
I have no doubt that you and I could carry it so far.
The most reliable traditions tell us that this was known to be the earth's centre, ages ago, and that when Christ was upon earth he set all doubts upon the subject at rest forever, by stating with his own lips that the tradition was correct.
It was impossible to doubt it; the child did not know how to write.
Briefly, Robert Elsmere, a priest of the Anglican Church, marries a very religious woman; there is the perfection of "mutual love"; at length he has doubts about "historic Christianity"; he gives up his orders; carries his learning, his fine intellect, his goodness, nay, his saintliness, into a kind of Unitarianism; the wife becomes more intolerant than ever; there is a long and faithful effort on both sides, eventually successful, on the part of these mentally [66] divided people, to hold together; ending with the hero's death, the genuine piety and resignation of which is the crowning touch in the author's able, learned, and thoroughly sincere apology for Robert Elsmere's position.
And I have no doubt that she called him a dark character that very day.
He did not doubt that this was the black tulip which was in flower.
There could be no doubt of it, for she had been personally known to every youth and maiden in the party.
I believe there can be no doubt that you are lawfully my son's wife," Mrs.
I have little doubt, from what he says, that they are those whom we seek.
If any marked distinction existed between domestic races and species, this source of doubt could not so perpetually recur.
As she is a woman of very great note, I shall easily find her out, and I make no doubt of being very well and kindly received by her.
Darya Alexandrovna," he said, now looking straight into Dolly's kindly, troubled face, and feeling that his tongue was being loosened in spite of himself, "I would give a great deal for doubt to be still possible.
Nutty's so odd that I don't know even now whether it ever occurred to him that he was obtaining money under false pretences; but the poor tradesmen hadn't any doubt about it at all.
If these men had stolen the boat shortly after dark (which I have no doubt they did), we were near enough to the land to make it vain to send in pursuit of them, when the discovery was made in the morning.