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belief

[bih-leef]
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noun
  1. something believed; an opinion or conviction: a belief that the earth is flat.
  2. confidence in the truth or existence of something not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof: a statement unworthy of belief.
  3. confidence; faith; trust: a child's belief in his parents.
  4. a religious tenet or tenets; religious creed or faith: the Christian belief.
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Origin of belief

1125–75; earlier bile(e)ve (noun use of v.); replacing Middle English bileave, equivalent to bi- be- + leave; compare Old English gelēafa (cognate with Dutch geloof, German Glaube; akin to Gothic galaubeins)
Related formspre·be·lief, nounsu·per·be·lief, noun

Synonyms

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Synonym study

2. Belief, certainty, conviction refer to acceptance of, or confidence in, an alleged fact or body of facts as true or right without positive knowledge or proof. Belief is such acceptance in general: belief in astrology. Certainty indicates unquestioning belief and positiveness in one's own mind that something is true: I know this for a certainty. Conviction is settled, profound, or earnest belief that something is right: a conviction that a decision is just.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

faithconfidencetrusttheoryconvictionthinkingknowledgeacceptanceideaunderstandingexpectationconclusionassumptionsuspicionpositionopinionfeelingjudgmentnotionhope

Examples from the Web for beliefs

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Not to be tedious, they had many other beliefs of a similar kind.

    Little Dorrit

    Charles Dickens

  • Haven't other people as good a right to live their beliefs as you?

    The Coryston Family

    Mrs. Humphry Ward

  • She was so loyal, so courageous in her beliefs, such a great little sportswoman.

    The Law-Breakers

    Ridgwell Cullum

  • But doubtless he had this time touched her beliefs to the quick.

    Doctor Pascal

    Emile Zola

  • "My beliefs can matter nothing," he compromised, and made her a valedictory bow.

    The Lion's Skin

    Rafael Sabatini


British Dictionary definitions for beliefs

belief

noun
  1. a principle, proposition, idea, etc, accepted as true
  2. opinion; conviction
  3. religious faith
  4. trust or confidence, as in a person or a person's abilities, probity, etc
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Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for beliefs

belief

n.

late 12c., bileave, replacing Old English geleafa "belief, faith," from West Germanic *ga-laubon "to hold dear, esteem, trust" (cf. Old Saxon gilobo, Middle Dutch gelove, Old High German giloubo, German Glaube), from *galaub- "dear, esteemed," from intensive prefix *ga- + *leubh- "to care, desire, like, love" (see love (v.)). The prefix was altered on analogy of the verb believe. The distinction of the final consonant from that of believe developed 15c.

"The be-, which is not a natural prefix of nouns, was prefixed on the analogy of the vb. (where it is naturally an intensive) .... [OED]

Belief used to mean "trust in God," while faith meant "loyalty to a person based on promise or duty" (a sense preserved in keep one's faith, in good (or bad) faith and in common usage of faithful, faithless, which contain no notion of divinity). But faith, as cognate of Latin fides, took on the religious sense beginning in 14c. translations, and belief had by 16c. become limited to "mental acceptance of something as true," from the religious use in the sense of "things held to be true as a matter of religious doctrine" (a sense attested from early 13c.).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper