v: to question, to waver or to hesitate
n: uncertainty, confusion
Why is there a silent « B » in the word « Doubt »? It seems unneccesary, doesn’t it?
The French word « Doute » arrived into English in the 13th Century from the original Latin word « Dubitare ». Later, sometime in the 14th Century, English scribes started to reintroduce the « B », but why? Well, it was to keep « Doubt » connected to other words with the same Latin origin, e.g. « Dubious » and « Indubitably ».
Well, if we look further things get interesting.
The only other root-word in English that begins with « DOUB- » is the word « Double » which has origins in the Latin « Duplus ». Both « Dubitare » and « Duplus » come from the Latin « Duo » meaning « Two ».
While the connection in meaning between « Double » and « Two » is obvious, it is not so clear with « Doubt ». We need a deeper understanding of the meaning of « Doubt » to understand the connection. When we doubt we are uncertain, or we could say we think-twice; we are in two-minds. This is why the scribes returned the « B » to « Doubt »; to reflect the importance of the duplicity of thought when we doubt.
In fact, before we started stealing French words we had a word for « Doubt » in Old English, this word was « Tweogan » and its connection to the concept of « Two » is clear.
Thanks to Gina Cooke for this example.