doubt

(redirected from doubts)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal, Encyclopedia.

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

the benefit of the doubt

The withholding of judgment so as to retain a favorable or at least neutral opinion of someone or something when the full information about the subject is not yet available. You're my sister! Can't you give me the benefit of the doubt, instead of believing the worst about me? Let's give him the benefit of the doubt before we start accusing him. There may be a good explanation.
See also: benefit, doubt, of

beyond a reasonable doubt

With confidence; without any doubt. This phrase is most commonly heard in legal proceedings. The jury acquitted him because they could not say that he was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
See also: beyond, doubt, reasonable

beyond a/the shadow of a doubt

With confidence; without any doubt. This photo now proves, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that my client is innocent. I barely remember leaving the office last night, so I can't say beyond a shadow of a doubt that I set the alarm before I left.
See also: beyond, doubt, of, shadow

cast doubt on (someone or something)

To cause someone or something to be viewed with doubt, skepticism, or uncertainty. I considered Walt for the promotion, but his constant lateness soon cast doubt on that decision. Such a significant error really cast doubt on all of the experiment's results.
See also: cast, doubt, on

give (someone or something) the benefit of the doubt

To retain a favorable or at least neutral opinion of someone or something until the full information about the subject is available. You're my sister! Can't you give me the benefit of the doubt, instead of believing the worst about me right away? Let's give him the benefit of the doubt before we start accusing him. There may be a good explanation for the missing money.
See also: benefit, doubt, give, of

no doubt about it

What has been said is definitely true. There's no doubt about it—it is definitely the best pizzeria in town. A: "Do you think we'll get to see some wildlife?" B: "No doubt about it! We're guaranteed to see some megafauna."
See also: doubt

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, that

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

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

give someone the benefit of the doubt

COMMON
1. If you give someone the benefit of the doubt, you decide to believe that what they are saying is honest, even though it is possible that they are not telling the truth. As to whether she deliberately lied or got the facts wrong, I suppose we could give her the benefit of the doubt.
2. If you give someone the benefit of the doubt, you decide to believe that what they are doing is right, even though it is possible that they are doing something wrong. I am basically a trusting person. I make it a practice to give everyone the benefit of the doubt.
See also: benefit, doubt, give, of

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 ?
My Elinor, is it possible to doubt their engagement?
His object was, no doubt, to obtain pecuniary assistance from Mrs.
And I had no doubt that I must wrestle against that as a great temptation, and the command was clear that I must go away.
when the queen, understanding these words (which are no doubt Arabic) to signify that he was all attention, and would do his best not to snore any more -- the queen, I say, having arranged these matters to her satisfaction, re-entered thus, at once, into the history of Sinbad the sailor:
It is a happiness to know, however, that intelligent people do not doubt the story in any of its particulars.
Their particular phase of doubt, of philosophic uncertainty, has been the secret of millions of good Christians, multitudes of worthy priests.
Taken in by the stratagem of Rosa, who had feigned to put it in the ground, and entertaining no doubt that this little farce had been played in order to force him to betray himself, he redoubled his precaution, and employed every means suggested by his crafty nature to watch the others without being watched himself.
This point, if it could be cleared up, would be interesting; if, for instance, it could be shown that the greyhound, bloodhound, terrier, spaniel, and bull-dog, which we all know propagate their kind so truly, were the offspring of any single species, then such facts would have great weight in making us doubt about the immutability of the many very closely allied and natural species--for instance, of the many foxes--inhabiting different quarters of the world.
You might go on believing for a time, but sooner or later you would be bound to begin to doubt and worry and torment yourself.
Wounded no," said Don Quixote, "but bruised and battered no doubt, for that bastard Don Roland has cudgelled me with the trunk of an oak tree, and all for envy, because he sees that I alone rival him in his achievements.
Thus I perceived that doubt, inconstancy, sadness, and such like, could not be found in God, since I myself would have been happy to be free from them.
I have no doubt that I was biased, but I think it was blamelessly.
You threw it down, no doubt, at that supreme moment when you charged into the empty hut.
As, for instance, at Athens, after the expulsion of the tyrants, when Clisthenes enrolled many foreigners and city-slaves amongst the tribes; and the doubt with respect to them was, not whether they were citizens or no, but whether they were legally so or not.
From the smiles and significant gestures of Dame Aloise, from the glances which she threw towards her daughter, Fleur-de-Lys, as she spoke low to the captain, it was easy to see that there was here a question of some betrothal concluded, some marriage near at hand no doubt, between the young man and Fleur-de-Lys.