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"Benefit of the doubt" is a standard phrase in English and is a very useful one in formal discussions. Is there an equivalent expression to denote the opposite of it, formal or informal?

For example:

Sara: What do you think of our new neighbour?
Sam: I do not know them, but I'll give them the benefit of the doubt. [they must be good people]

How about an opposite case (I will try to convey it below):

Sara: Will you marry me?
Sam: I do not know you, so I have to __ (I wont risk it, you could be terrible...)

One thing I can think of is possible risk. Is that how the English speaking world go about this?

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I'm new to this community, I must have got the tagging terribly wrong. Can someone correct it? –  nawfal Jul 4 '13 at 10:00
1  
skeptical? "Not easily convinced; having doubts or reservations." -- I do not know you, so I am skeptical (I wont risk it, you could be terrible...) –  Kris Jul 4 '13 at 10:14
    
@Kris thats an option too, could you make it an answer? –  nawfal Jul 4 '13 at 11:13
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How about "doubt?" It isn't always to your benefit. –  user867 Jul 5 '13 at 4:34

1 Answer 1

up vote 11 down vote accepted

"Assume the worst" is the best idiom I can come up with that conveys the opposite of "benefit of the doubt".

Sam: I cannot marry you because since I don't know you, I have to assume the worst."

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3  
Or 'assume a worst-case scenario'. Mind you, if I were Sara, I wouldn't necessarily appreciate these answers! –  Edwin Ashworth Jul 4 '13 at 16:40
    
@EdwinAshworth haha, funny.. :) –  nawfal Jul 18 '13 at 7:50

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