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

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.
Recent Examples on the Web Advertisement Joy has been carefully tending this belief system, chucking Riley’s bad memories like marbles to the back of her mind, creating a happy-go-lucky kid who is totally ill-equipped for what’s coming: puberty, along with a group of new, more complex emotions. Katie Walsh, Los Angeles Times, 12 June 2024 The family was in constant contact with their daughter’s respite caregiver, who eventually shared their belief that the girl had RAD. Zoey Lyttle, Peoplemag, 11 June 2024 Today’s China seeks not to marginalize competing groups and belief systems, the way Beijing did during the Mao era, but to co-opt them. Foreign Affairs, 10 June 2024 Contrary to popular belief, these harmless creatures have no relation to jellyfish. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, 10 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for belief 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'belief.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near belief

Cite this Entry

“Belief.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


be·​lief bə-ˈlēf How to pronounce belief (audio)
: a feeling sure that someone or something exists or is true or trustworthy
a belief in Santa Claus
a belief in democracy
: something that one thinks is true
political beliefs

Legal Definition


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

More from Merriam-Webster on belief

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