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 The algorithms led scientists to believe that such a quake could knock out gas and water service between La Jolla and the Silver Strand for months, shut down the San Diego-Coronado Bridge, cause important municipal buildings to collapse. Gary Robbins, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Danger posed by earthquake fault will lead to tighter San Diego building restrictions," 26 Feb. 2021 Another 11% believe worker training is simply not a corporate priority at their firms. Bryan Robinson, Forbes, "Future Of Work: How To ‘Future Proof’ Your Job And Career," 25 Feb. 2021 Tikhanovskaya had reason to believe her own vote was around 75%. Vivienne Walt, Time, "How a Belarusian Teacher and Stay-at-Home Mom Came to Lead a National Revolt," 25 Feb. 2021 Many seem to believe nowadays that lower unemployment will not raise inflation. Andrew Stuttaford, National Review, "Inflation, You Say?," 24 Feb. 2021 This gets more complicated in higher education, however, which is a service that the majority of parents believe their children need. Ron Lieber, Town & Country, "Elite Universities Are in an Amenities Arms Race," 23 Feb. 2021 Some scientists, however, believe this notion of naxolone immunity is a growing misconception. Tim Darnell, ajc, "Glow Worm toy stuffed full of fentanyl, parents discover," 23 Feb. 2021 Some believe this isn’t enough to prevent the action from seesawing in the stock, especially if the barrel is free-floated. Michael R. Shea, Field & Stream, "How to Upgrade Your Ruger 10/22," 22 Feb. 2021 Some experts believe that the threshold is more of a spectrum, and the closer the population can get to it, the better the chances of stopping the spread of the disease. Washington Post, "Can covid herd immunity be reached without vaccinating kids? It’s complicated.," 22 Feb. 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

1 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Believe.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Mar. 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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