noun be·lief \ bə-ˈlēf \
|Updated on: 15 Jul 2018

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

Examples of belief in a Sentence

  1. There is growing belief that these policies will not succeed.

  2. He gets angry if anyone challenges his religious beliefs.

  3. We challenged his beliefs about religion.

Recent Examples of belief from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of belief

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

Synonym Discussion of 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 Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of belief for English Language Learners

  • : 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

BELIEF Defined for Kids


noun be·lief \ bə-ˈlēf \

Definition of belief for Students

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.

Synonym Discussion of belief

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

Law Dictionary


noun be·lief

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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peaceful, happy, or prosperous

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