be·​lieve | \ bə-ˈlēv How to pronounce believe (audio) \
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



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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 But we’ve been conditioned to believe such common sense may not be uttered, lest the media-Democrat complex portray us as the reincarnation of Jim Crow. Andrew C. Mccarthy, National Review, "Major League Baseball and the Voting-Rights Con," 3 Apr. 2021 Congressional investigations, lawsuits, and media coverage had revealed very close ties between doctors at academic medical centers and companies, leading some people to believe that bias was tainting patient care., "Boston’s hospital chiefs moonlight on corporate boards at rates far beyond the national rate," 3 Apr. 2021 About 30% of rewards credit-card holders didn’t redeem rewards in 2020, according to Bankrate, leading some issuers to believe there is a market for more innovative rewards. Annamaria Andriotis, WSJ, "Shrink Your Student Loans, Invest in Bitcoin: Credit Card Points Get Creative," 3 Apr. 2021 The frequency of the fires, along with evidence found at some of the scenes, has led investigators to believe some or all of the fires were intentionally set, according to Benton County Sheriff Troy Heck. Jenny Berg, Star Tribune, "Benton County investigating suspicious grass fires," 2 Apr. 2021 It’s one thing, Olmsted noted, to believe the moon landing was faked, as roughly 5% of Americans consistently tell pollsters. Los Angeles Times, "Column: Conspiracies run amok. (Did you hear the one about Joan Rivers, Michelle Obama and the Clintons?)," 2 Apr. 2021 However, there’s still reason to believe this could become a sticky situation for the Spanoses. Tom Krasovic, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Chargers’ sale seems unlikely, but Spanos disunity raises questions," 2 Apr. 2021 Nonetheless, these healthy numbers give reason to believe the industry could see strong sales through the rest of the year. Colin Beresford, Car and Driver, "Car Buyers Flocked to Dealers in First Quarter after a Tough 2020," 1 Apr. 2021 Mets fans have the capacity to believe in both outcomes with equal commitment. Devin Gordon, The Atlantic, "The Mets Are Losers," 1 Apr. 2021

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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Time Traveler for believe

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for believe

Last Updated

6 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Believe.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Apr. 2021.

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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 How to pronounce believe (audio) \
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

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