- to have confidence in the truth, the existence, or the reliability of something, although without absolute proof that one is right in doing so: Only if one believes in something can one act purposefully.
- to have confidence or faith in the truth of (a positive assertion, story, etc.); give credence to.
- to have confidence in the assertions of (a person).
- to have a conviction that (a person or thing) is, has been, or will be engaged in a given action or involved in a given situation: The fugitive is believed to be headed for the Mexican border.
- to suppose or assume; understand (usually followed by a noun clause): I believe that he has left town.
- believe in,
- to be persuaded of the truth or existence of: to believe in Zoroastrianism; to believe in ghosts.
- to have faith in the reliability, honesty, benevolence, etc., of: I can help only if you believe in me.
- make believe. make1(def 68).
Origin of believe
Examples from the Web for believe
People watch night soaps because the genre allows them to believe in a world where people just react off their baser instincts.‘Empire’ Review: Hip-Hop Musical Chairs with an Insane Soap Opera Twist
January 8, 2015
I believe in the power of institutions—Congress, public policy, certain ideas about politics—that last for a long time.Thank Congress, Not LBJ for Great Society
Julian Zelizer, Scott Porch
January 4, 2015
What they believe impacts economic policy, foreign policy, education policy, environmental policy, you name it.The Evangelical Apocalypse Is All Your Fault
January 4, 2015
“We believe the gun was in it the whole time,” the investigator says.Exclusive: Inside a Cop-Killer’s Final Hours
December 31, 2014
Afraid the Korean secret police would not believe his kidnapping story, Shin settled in Hollywood.Propaganda, Protest, and Poisonous Vipers: The Cinema War in Korea
December 30, 2014
I believe he has given the Athenians philtres to make them love him.
Moreover, I believe, dearest Eudora, that half your wrongs are in your own imagination.
But believe me, Eudora, Alcibiades will never divorce Hipparete.
Has he then made you believe that he would divorce Hipparete?
She is glad to believe that there is every reason why it will soon be over.The Spenders
Harry Leon Wilson
- (tr; may take a clause as object) to accept (a statement, supposition, or opinion) as trueI believe God exists
- (tr) to accept the statement or opinion of (a person) as true
- (intr foll by in) to be convinced of the truth or existence (of)to believe in fairies
- (intr) to have religious faith
- (when tr, takes a clause as object) to think, assume, or supposeI believe that he has left already
- (tr; foll by of; used with can, could, would, etc) to think that someone is able to do (a particular action)I wouldn't have believed it of him
Word Origin and History for believe
Old English belyfan "to believe," earlier geleafa (Mercian), gelefa (Northumbrian), gelyfan (West Saxon) "believe," from Proto-Germanic *ga-laubjan "to believe," perhaps literally "hold dear, love" (cf. Old Saxon gilobian "believe," Dutch geloven, Old High German gilouben, German glauben), ultimately a compound based on PIE *leubh- "to care, desire, love" (see belief).
Spelling beleeve is common till 17c.; then altered, perhaps by influence of relieve, etc. To believe on instead of in was more common in 16c. but now is a peculiarity of theology; believe of also sometimes was used in 17c. Related: Believed (formerly occasionally beleft); believing. Expression believe it or not attested by 1874; Robert Ripley's newspaper cartoon of the same name is from 1918. Emphatic you better believe attested from 1854.