[ bih-leev ]
See synonyms for believe on
verb (used without object),be·lieved, be·liev·ing.
  1. 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.
  1. to have confidence or faith in the truth of (a positive assertion, story, etc.); give credence to.

  2. to have confidence in the assertions of (a person).

  1. 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.

  2. to suppose or assume; understand (usually followed by a noun clause): I believe that he has left town.

Verb Phrases
  1. 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.

Idioms about believe

  1. make believe. make1 (def. 68).

Origin of believe

First recorded in 1150–1200; Middle English bileven, equivalent to bi- be- + leven, Old English (Anglian) gelēfan (cognate with Dutch gelooven, German glauben, Gothic galaubjan )

Other words from believe

  • be·liev·a·bil·i·ty [bih-leev-uh-bil-i-tee], /bɪˌliv əˈbɪl ɪ ti/, be·liev·a·ble·ness, noun
  • be·liev·a·ble, adjective
  • be·liev·a·bly, adverb
  • be·liev·er, noun
  • be·liev·ing·ly, adverb
  • half-be·lieved, adjective
  • half-be·liev·ing, adjective
  • pre·be·lieve, verb, pre·be·lieved, pre·be·liev·ing.
  • su·per·be·liev·a·ble, adjective
  • su·per·be·liev·a·ble·ness, noun
  • su·per·be·liev·a·bly, adverb
  • well-be·lieved, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

British Dictionary definitions for believe


/ (bɪˈliːv) /

  1. (tr; may take a clause as object) to accept (a statement, supposition, or opinion) as true: I believe God exists

  2. (tr) to accept the statement or opinion of (a person) as true

  1. (intr foll by in) to be convinced of the truth or existence (of): to believe in fairies

  2. (intr) to have religious faith

  3. (when tr, takes a clause as object) to think, assume, or suppose: I believe that he has left already

  4. (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

Origin of believe

Old English beliefan

Derived forms of believe

  • believability, noun
  • believable, adjective
  • believably, adverb
  • believer, noun
  • believing, noun, adjective

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with believe


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.