verb be·lieve \ bə-ˈlēv \
Updated on: 9 May 2018

Definition of believe

believed; believing
1 a : to consider to be true or honest
  • believe the reports
  • you wouldn't believe how long it took
b : to accept the word or evidence of
  • I believe you
  • couldn't believe my ears
2 : to hold as an opinion : suppose
  • I believe it will rain soon
1 a : to accept something as true, genuine, or real
  • ideals we believe in
  • believes in ghosts
b : to have a firm or wholehearted religious conviction or persuasion : to regard the existence of God as a fact
  • Do you believe?
usually used with in
  • believe in the Scriptures
2 : to have a firm conviction as to the goodness, efficacy, or ability of something
  • believe in exercise
3 : to hold an opinion : think
  • I believe so


not believe
: to be astounded at
  • I couldn't believe my luck

Examples of believe in a Sentence

  1. I have watched the many ways that teachers demonstrate pleasure in what students have said or done. I used to believe that teachers needed to present a stoic face for fear of losing control—as if smiling caused bad behavior. —Nancy MackEnglish JournalSeptember 2008
  2. Scientists kept a close eye on Mount Saint Helens. The volcano in Washington State spewed steam and ash throughout the month, leading experts to believe that it could erupt at any time. Time For Kids17 Dec. 2004
  3. They parted as casually as any friends who believe they will meet in a few days. But each knew the other was in deadly peril of his life. —Esther ForbesJohnny Tremain1943
  4. The scientists believed the reports.

  5. Many people seem to believe that theory, but I find it hard to believe.

  6. You shouldn't believe everything you read.

  7. He says he'll help us, but I don't believe what he says.

  8. They were tricked into believing that he was a doctor.

  9. He says he'll help us, but I don't believe him.

  10. She went to church because her family expected it, but she didn't really believe.

Recent Examples of believe from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'believe.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of believe

Middle English beleven, from Old English belēfan, from be- + lȳfan, lēfan to allow, believe; akin to Old High German gilouben to believe, Old English lēof dear — more at love

believe Synonyms


accept, buy, credit, swallow, take, trust;


set store by (or on);

BELIEVE Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of believe for English Language Learners

  • : to accept or regard (something) as true

  • : to accept the truth of what is said by (someone)

  • : to have (a specified opinion)

BELIEVE Defined for Kids


verb be·lieve \ bə-ˈlēv \

Definition of believe for Students

believed; believing
1 : to have faith or confidence in the existence or worth of
  • I don't believe in ghosts.
  • He believes in daily exercise.
2 : to accept as true
  • Don't believe everything you read.
3 : to accept the word of
  • They didn't believe me.
4 : to hold an opinion : think
  • I believe I'll have more time later.

Law Dictionary


transitive verb be·lieve

legal Definition of believe

believed; believing
: to consider to be true or honest

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good-natured ridicule

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