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

Avelar believed that the judge, due to his Christian beliefs, was unable or unwilling to recognize the violence a young trans woman like herself would experience at a men’s jail. Alice Driver, Longreads, "The Road to Asylum," 30 June 2018 Last week, Tom Markle shocked royal-watchers by giving an interview to Piers Morgan about daughter Meghan Markle’s wedding, Prince Harry’s political beliefs, and his own photo scandal. Josh Duboff, Vanities, "Inside Meghan Markle’s Royal Roller-Coaster Week," 29 June 2018 Traumatic events like being suddenly and unexpectedly separated from your parents with no idea of when you’ll be reunited with them can alter previously held beliefs, Brabeck says. Korin Miller, SELF, "Why Trump’s Family Separation Policy Could Be Detrimental to Parents’ and Children’s Mental Health," 20 June 2018 Others wondered if this confirmed the belief that the need to make people laugh was a sign of a troubled soul. Peter Keough,, "Doc Talk: A sad clown and a happy collector," 12 July 2018 Whatever the origin, the belief that 13 is an unlucky number is far reaching, and very old. Sarah Lyons, Teen Vogue, "How to Make Friday the 13th Good Luck Charms," 12 July 2018 Guzman, though, is the better defender and a better hitter, and the belief is the power will develop in future seasons. Jeff Wilson, star-telegram, "Guzman looking for permanent stay as Rangers' first baseman," 10 July 2018 Augur is based on the wisdom of crowds, or the belief that many minds are better than one expert. Lucinda Shen, Fortune, "Ethereum-Based Blockchain Betting Platform Augur Just Launched. Here's Why It's Not Married to Either," 9 July 2018 Our esteemed columnist, Mike Finger, and I have always agreed in the belief that The Eastern Conference’s Worst Team + LeBron = an instant Finals squad. Nick Talbot, San Antonio Express-News, "Writers’ Roundtable: How the Spurs’ and NBA free agency is shaping up," 7 July 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

4 Nov 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).


something that serves to warn or remind

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