Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.

WORD ORIGIN

early 13c., "to dread, fear," from Old French doter "doubt, be doubtful; be afraid," from Latin dubitare "to doubt, question, hesitate, waver in opinion" (related to dubius "uncertain;" see dubious), originally "to have to choose between two things."

The sense of "fear" developed in Old French and was passed on to English. Meaning "to be uncertain" is attested in English from c.1300. The -b- was restored 14c. by scribes in imitation of Latin. Replaced Old English tweogan (noun twynung), from tweon "two," on notion of "of two minds" or the choice of two implied in Latin dubitare (cf. German Zweifel "doubt," from zwei "two").

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Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.