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

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



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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

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 Counterarguments to core beliefs are perceived as physical threats to your well-being. Ellen Mcgirt, Fortune, "Marking four years of this race beat journey," 15 May 2020 His search for a belief system was taken too lightly and was conflated in this idea that California itself was not to be taken seriously. Jill Cowan, New York Times, "Why Jerry Brown’s Biographer Thinks ‘Moonbeam’ Is Unfair," 12 May 2020 The model of America, what America is, is a belief system, not a physical appearance. Melissa Magsaysay, Los Angeles Times, "‘Chinese virus’ and other COVID-19 racism have designers, stylists of Asian heritage pushing back," 8 May 2020 Contrary to popular belief, people do order fish sandwiches at Arby's. TheWeek, "Sen. Joe Manchin forgot to mute a call with Senate Democrats while he went through an Arby's drive-through," 7 May 2020 Lake trout are abundant, fun to catch, and, contrary to popular belief, make for great eating. Cosmo Genova, Field & Stream, "How to Cook Lake Trout Chowder," 28 Apr. 2020 Contrary to popular belief, puzzles never went anywhere, and there are plenty of aesthetically pleasing options to buy online. Erin Parker, Glamour, "The 23 Best Puzzles to Help You Stay Sane Right Now," 28 Apr. 2020 Contrary to popular belief, the department generally delivers care that’s as good or better than the private sector’s. Jasper Craven, The New Republic, "Trump’s War on VA Workers Is Exposing Them to the Coronavirus," 15 Apr. 2020 And, contrary to popular belief, pasta and good health are not mutually exclusive. The Healthyish Team, Bon Appétit, "55 Healthy Pasta Recipes Full of Vegetables, Protein, and Flavor," 13 Apr. 2020

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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Time Traveler for belief

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for belief

Last Updated

19 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Belief.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for belief


How to pronounce belief (audio)

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 How to pronounce belief (audio) \

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.

Choose the Right Synonym for 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



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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