be·lieve | \ bə-ˈlēv \
believed; believing

Definition of believe 

transitive verb

1a : 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

intransitive verb

1a : 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

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Other words from believe

believer noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for believe


accept, buy, credit, swallow, take, trust


disbelieve, discredit, reject

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Examples of believe in a Sentence

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 Mack, English Journal, September 2008 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 Kids, 17 Dec. 2004 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 Forbes, Johnny Tremain, 1943 The scientists believed the reports. Many people seem to believe that theory, but I find it hard to believe. You shouldn't believe everything you read. He says he'll help us, but I don't believe what he says. They were tricked into believing that he was a doctor. He says he'll help us, but I don't believe him. She went to church because her family expected it, but she didn't really believe.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Read more: Michael Joyce, a spokesman for the Republican National Committee, said no one believes Stabenow did a thorough review of Kavanaugh's lengthy judicial record before announcing her opposition along with other Democrats. Todd Spangler, Detroit Free Press, "Why Mich. senators won't confirm Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh," 13 July 2018 Wealthier Democrats tend not to believe that the dream exists. The Economist, "The L wordWho is a Democrat?," 12 July 2018 More disturbingly, whites are distinctly more likely to believe that police have a right to hit citizens. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "White Americans love Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer—and flashlights.," 10 July 2018 As part of that effort, Russian hackers targeted at least 21 states ahead of the election and are believed to have breached the voter registration system in at least one, Illinois. CBS News, "Top state election officials meet amid security concerns," 14 July 2018 England right back Kieran Trippier left the semifinal with a groin injury, and Kane is believed to have played through through an injury for at least three games. Katherine Fominykh,, "World Cup final weekend: how to watch the matchups, plus time and odds," 14 July 2018 The investigation is in the preliminary stage, police said, but investigators believed all involved parties were accounted for and that there were no outstanding suspects. Brittny Mejia,, "Three people found dead in Redondo Beach residence after report of shooting," 12 July 2018 On the right, Dunleavy, a former state senator, is believed to be the GOP front-runner. Kelsey Brugger, Scientific American, "Alaska Wants to Fight Warming While Still Drilling for Oil," 12 July 2018 And while Looming Tower star Jeff Daniels was nominated for best actor in a limited series, the show itself, believed to be a favorite for a nomination, failed to earn a best limited series nod. Hilary Lewis, The Hollywood Reporter, "Emmy Nominations Snubs: 'Modern Family,' 'Orange Is the New Black' Shut Out in Major Categories," 12 July 2018

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.

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First Known Use of believe

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1b

History and Etymology for 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

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Statistics for believe

Last Updated

11 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for believe

The first known use of believe was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for believe



English Language Learners Definition of believe

: to accept or regard (something) as true

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

: to have (a specified opinion)


be·lieve | \ bə-ˈlēv \
believed; believing

Kids Definition of believe

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.


transitive verb
believed; believing

Legal Definition of believe 

: to consider to be true or honest

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Comments on believe

What made you want to look up believe? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


an open space surrounded by woods

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