(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.
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”).