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1. causing fear or alarm : formidable
2. illustrious, eminent; broadly : worthy of respect.

1. The theater has hired a redoubtable director to direct its upcoming production.
2. “The study’s authors—Jason Grissom, Benjamin Master, and the redoubtable Susannah Loeb—assigned researchers to shadow 100-plus principals in the Miami-Dade school district and document their actions in five-minute intervals.” — From an article by Karin Chenoweth in the Huffington Post, January 16, 2014.

The word “redoubtable” is worthy of respect itself, if only for its longevity; it has been used in English for things formidable since at least the 15th century. This “dread”-ful term comes to us through Middle English from the Anglo-French verb “reduter,” meaning “to dread,” and ultimately derives from “duter,” meaning “to doubt.” Things or people that are formidable and alarming can also inspire awe and even admiration, however, and it wasn’t long before the meaning of “redoubtable” was extended from “formidable” to “illustrious” and “worthy of respect.”

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