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 For other parents, the reliance on fellow parents in the school community has actually reinforced their belief in the values of the school and feelings of community around those values. Shira Hanau,, "For Jewish schools, Thanksgiving presents new test of COVID rules, parent trust," 24 Nov. 2020 So holding up any emergency vehicle is selfish beyond belief. Washington Post, "Hints From Heloise: Good manners are for the road, too," 23 Nov. 2020 That is to say, there’s an unmistakable correlation between a person’s support for campaign-finance reform and her belief that such laws are used for retribution. Zac Morgan, National Review, "Stunning Findings on Campaign-Finance Law," 21 Nov. 2020 The news furthered his belief that local officials have rigged the system to get their way. Brian Maffly, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Ex-lawmaker Mike Noel gains stalking injunction against critic, who sees it as a gag order," 15 Nov. 2020 Federal Reserve officials have been forthright about their belief that the U.S. needs more fiscal stimulus to combat the Covid-19 crisis. Justin Lahart, WSJ, "Federal Reserve Doesn’t Have to Just Wait on Washington," 5 Nov. 2020 Many insisted that their opposition had nothing to do with race, but instead with their belief that low-income housing did not fit the upscale vision that city officials had presented for the area where the development would be built. John Eligon, New York Times, "Residents Feared Low-Income Housing Would Ruin Their Suburb. It Didn’t.," 5 Nov. 2020 Stanford University coach David Shaw joined me on Thursday for an in-depth conversation about football, family and his deep belief in players. John Canzano, oregonlive, "Stanford coach David Shaw talks Oregon opener, family, and adjusting on the fly," 5 Nov. 2020 Chatterjee insists his record is consistent and guided by his belief in competitive markets. Abby Smith, Washington Examiner, "Daily on Energy: Potential record year for wind shows renewables’ resilience to pandemic," 30 Oct. 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

29 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Belief.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Nov. 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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