believe[bə lēv′, bē-]
- The definition of believe means to have confidence in the truth of something.
An example of believe is to have faith in God.
To have faith in God is to believe.
transitive verbbelieved, believing
- to take as true, real, etc.
- to have confidence in a statement or promise of (another person)
- to suppose or think
Origin of believeMiddle English bileven ; from bi, be- + -leven, contr. ; from ileven ; from Old English geliefan ; from Indo-European base an unverified form leubh-, to like, desire from source love, lief, Classical Latin libido
- to have trust or confidence (in) as being true, real, good, etc.
- to have religious faith
- to suppose or think
verbbe·lieved, be·liev·ing, be·lieves
- To accept as true or real: Do you believe the news stories?
- To credit with veracity: I believe you.
- To expect or suppose; think: I believe they will arrive shortly.
- To have firm faith, especially religious faith.
- To have faith, confidence, or trust: I believe in your ability to solve the problem.
- To have confidence in the truth or value of something: We believe in free speech.
- To have an opinion; think: They have already left, I believe.
Origin of believeMiddle English bileven, from Old English bel&ymacron;fan, belēfan, gelēfan; see leubh- in Indo-European roots.
(third-person singular simple present believes, present participle believing, simple past and past participle believed)
- To accept as true, particularly without absolute certainty (i.e., as opposed to knowing)
- If you believe the numbers, you'll agree we need change.
- I believe there are faeries.
- I believe it might rain tomorrow. (Here, the speaker merely accepts the accuracy of the conditional.)
- To accept that someone is telling the truth.
- Why did I ever believe you?
- (intransitive) To have religious faith; to believe in a greater truth.
- After that night in the church, I believed.
- The transitive verb believe and the phrasal verb believe in are similar but can have very different implications.
- To “believe” someone or something means to accept specific pieces of information as truth: believe the news, believe the lead witness. To “believe a complete stranger” means to accept a stranger's story with little evidence.
- To “believe in” someone or something means to hold confidence and trust in that person or concept: believe in liberty, believe in God. To “believe in one's fellow man” means to place trust and confidence in mankind.
- Meanings sometimes overlap. To believe in a religious text would also require affirming the truth of at least the major tenets. To believe a religious text might likewise imply placing one's confidence and trust in it, in addition to accepting its statements as facts.
From Middle English beleven, bileven, from Old English belīefan (“to believe”), from Proto-Germanic *bilaubijaną (“to believe”), equivalent to be- + leave (“to allow, permit”). Cognate with Scots beleve (“to believe”). Compare Old English ġelīefan (“to be dear to; believe, trust”), Old English ġelēafa (“belief, faith, confidence, trust”), Old English lēof ("dear, valued, beloved, pleasant, agreeable"; > English lief). Related also to North Frisian leauwjen (“to believe”), West Frisian leauwe (“to believe”), Dutch geloven (“to believe”), German glauben (“to believe”), Gothic (galaubjan, “to hold dear, valuable, or satisfactory, approve of, believe”).