• synonyms


[ bih-leev ]
/ bɪˈliv /

verb (used without object), be·lieved, be·liev·ing.

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.

verb (used with object), be·lieved, be·liev·ing.

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.

Verb Phrases

believe in,
  1. to be persuaded of the truth or existence of: to believe in Zoroastrianism; to believe in ghosts.
  2. to have faith in the reliability, honesty, benevolence, etc., of: I can help only if you believe in me.


Mary SueRead more in this article about some frequently asked questions and fun facts related to our definitions.


plausibility, credibility, validity, likelihood, creditability

Nearby words

belial, belie, belief, believability, believable, believe, believe it or not, believe one's ears, believer, believing, belike


    make believe. make1(def 68).

Origin of believe

1150–1200; Middle English bileven, equivalent to bi- be- + leven, Old English (Anglian) gelēfan (cognate with Dutch gelooven, German glauben, Gothic galaubjan)
Related forms Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for believability

  • There are many possibilities, with varying degrees of believability.

    Delaware’s Affluenza Case Affects Justice, Too|Jay Michaelson|April 1, 2014|DAILY BEAST
  • Experiences of unlove are to them unbelievable and point, fundamentally and finally, to the necessity and believability of love.

    Herein is Love|Reuel L. Howe

British Dictionary definitions for believability


/ (bɪˈliːv) /


(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
Derived Forms

Word Origin for believe

Old English beliefan
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

Idioms and Phrases with believability


In addition to the idioms beginning with believe

  • believe it or not
  • believe one's ears

also see:

  • lead one to believe
  • make believe
  • you'd better believe it

Also seeseeing is believing.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.