be·​lief | \ bə-ˈlēf How to pronounce belief (audio) \

Definition of belief

1 : a state or habit of mind in which trust or confidence is placed in some person or thing her belief in God a belief in democracy I bought the table in the belief that it was an antique. contrary to popular belief
2 : something that is accepted, considered to be true, or held as an opinion : something believed an individual's religious or political beliefs especially : a tenet or body of tenets held by a group the beliefs of the Catholic Church
3 : conviction of the truth of some statement or the reality of some being or phenomenon especially when based on examination of evidence belief in the validity of scientific statements

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Synonyms & Antonyms for belief



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belief, faith, credence, credit mean assent to the truth of something offered for acceptance. belief may or may not imply certitude in the believer. my belief that I had caught all the errors faith almost always implies certitude even where there is no evidence or proof. an unshakable faith in God credence suggests intellectual assent without implying anything about grounds for assent. a theory now given credence by scientists credit may imply assent on grounds other than direct proof. gave full credit to the statement of a reputable witness

synonyms see in addition opinion

belief and faith mean agreement with the truth of something. belief is used when there is some kind of evidence for believing even though the believer is not always sure of the truth. The story strengthened my belief in ghosts. faith is used when the believer is certain even if there is no evidence or proof. Even after the robbery, I kept my faith in the goodness of people.

synonyms see in addition opinion

Examples of belief in a Sentence

There is growing belief that these policies will not succeed. He gets angry if anyone challenges his religious beliefs. We challenged his beliefs about religion.
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Recent Examples on the Web Further reasons for not reporting include the belief that law enforcement would do nothing to help. Sarah Midkiff,, "The Weinstein Defense Team’s Aggressive Victim-Blaming Tactic Raises Questions," 5 Feb. 2020 On the belief that Birmingham’s rising tide should lift all boats. Roy S. Johnson |, al, "Amid Birmingham’s $1 billion construction boom, will minority- and women-owned firms finally prosper?," 2 Feb. 2020 Biden is leading many national polls, largely because of that belief in his electability. Joe Garofoli,, "Here’s what Iowa caucuses mean for California Democrats," 2 Feb. 2020 This is a major reason why, despite the belief of 80% of Americans that recycling is important, the country still struggles with poor recycling rates. Tracey Lindeman, Fortune, "Recycling hasn’t changed in years, but America is on the cusp of a reckoning," 29 Jan. 2020 The Oscars, dating back to the ’20s and established to garner positive publicity for Hollywood (while extinguishing its unions), seem to persist in the belief that that is tied to white male supremacy. Soraya Roberts, Longreads, "Menace Too Society," 22 Jan. 2020 But still, there’s the belief that culture evolves really fast. David Noonan, Scientific American, "Pop Culture’s Rate of Change May Mirror Organic Evolution," 22 Jan. 2020 That same belief is prompting corporations to focus more attention on the importance of pairing CEOs with problem-solving COOs who can support a culture of innovation, agility and adaptation. Stefanos Zenios, Quartz at Work, "The role of COO is evolving, and it’s more important than ever," 8 Jan. 2020 We're not just committed to religious freedom for all, but put that belief into practice by fostering a sense of appreciation for what other religions bring to our city. Savannah Eadens, The Courier-Journal, "This nationally recognized LGBTQ faith leader to watch for in 2020 is based in Louisville," 13 Dec. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'belief.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of belief

12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for belief

Middle English beleave, probably alteration of Old English gelēafa, from ge-, associative prefix + lēafa; akin to Old English lȳfan — more at believe

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Time Traveler for belief

Time Traveler

The first known use of belief was in the 12th century

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Statistics for belief

Last Updated

11 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Belief.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for belief


How to pronounce belief (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of belief

: a feeling of being sure that someone or something exists or that something is true
: a feeling that something is good, right, or valuable
: a feeling of trust in the worth or ability of someone


be·​lief | \ bə-ˈlēf How to pronounce belief (audio) \

Kids Definition of belief

1 : a feeling of being sure that a person or thing exists or is true or trustworthy belief in ghosts belief in democracy
2 : religious faith
3 : something believed It's my belief that our team really won.



Legal Definition of belief

: a degree of conviction of the truth of something especially based on a consideration or examination of the evidence — compare knowledge, suspicion

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