be·lief | \ bə-ˈlēf \

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


credence, credit, faith


disbelief, discredit, doubt, nonbelief, unbelief

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Choose the Right Synonym for belief

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

The general belief at the time had been that information flowed only in the opposite direction — DNA to RNA. Mark Johnson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "UW scientific advances include vitamins, growing human embryonic stem cells in lab," 12 July 2018 Finances are often tied to core beliefs about generosity, living richly and feeling fulfilled. W. David Kern,, "How and why new couples should talk about finances," 11 July 2018 With Gareth Southgate's men facing Croatia on Wednesday evening for a place in the final this coming Sunday, there is the strong belief that the Three Lions can go on and win the World Cup for the first time since 1966., "It's Coming Home: 6 of the Best England World Cup Memes of the Summer So Far," 11 July 2018 New research from Dorfman and his fellow authors suggests that contrary to earlier beliefs, a minority of SNAP recipients are responsible for this spending pattern. Nedra Rhone, ajc, "Study: Minority of SNAP recipients spend benefits early in the month," 10 July 2018 Kruckenberg said the church's authenticity and commitments to its beliefs play a role. Lauren Castle, azcentral, "Phoenix religious groups woo Millennials with beer, art and social events," 16 June 2018 Kluge said he had been forced to resign by the school district’s administration and its new transgender student guidelines that run counter to his religious beliefs. Arika Herron, Indianapolis Star, "Brownsburg divided over fate of teacher, transgender policies in schools," 12 June 2018 Even so, the widespread belief among lawmakers was that Johnson will be overseas when the vote is called -- either with May’s approval or in open defiance of her. Robert Hutton,, "Tory Rebels See Johnson Freedom as License to Defy May on Brexit," 5 June 2018 The question before justices was whether the baker, Jack Phillips, was within his rights to object to making the cake due to his religious beliefs. Mackenzie Long, Teen Vogue, "The Supreme Court Sided With a Baker Who Didn’t Want to Bake a Gay Wedding Cake," 4 June 2018

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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Statistics for belief

Last Updated

9 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for belief

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

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More Definitions for belief



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 \

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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Comments on belief

What made you want to look up belief? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


occurring twice a year or every two years

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