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

Example Sentences

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 Musk has frequently expressed his belief that Twitter had become too restrictive. Natalie Neysa Alund, USA TODAY, 23 Nov. 2022 During the debate, one councilman even expressed his belief that another councilmember was involved in sending the email. cleveland, 22 Nov. 2022 As his batty 2021 essay made clear, Mr. Putin is possessed by a chthonic belief that Ukraine is part of a holy and indivisible union with Russia. Boris Johnson, WSJ, 14 Nov. 2022 But almost all of the biggest influencers of the carnivore diet are driven by a belief that masculinity has been demonized. Ct Jones, Rolling Stone, 11 Nov. 2022 The companies flourished amid a surge in pre-vaccine demand for grocery delivery, bolstered by the apparent belief that growth would continue even as the pandemic waned. Amanda Mull, The Atlantic, 30 Oct. 2022 To be able to play high-level cornerback, that almost has to be your mentality — spurred by a belief that no receiver can beat you. Theo Mackie, The Arizona Republic, 27 Oct. 2022 By Catholic belief, that is literally true when a priest celebrates Mass. His words transform wine and bread into Jesus’ flesh and blood. Ron Grossman, Chicago Tribune, 2 Oct. 2022 Biden at the time also reiterated his belief that Democrats would hold onto the chamber. Alexandra Hutzler, ABC News, 13 Nov. 2022 See More

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.

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 3 Dec. 2022.

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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