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 inbelieve 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 school district and police have identified the two students believed to be involved, Williamson said. Robin Goist, cleveland, "Security increased at Akron middle school after threat posted to Snapchat," 10 Feb. 2020 People chanted prayers along with a slate of Buddhist priests leading funeral rites, holding candles in one hand and with the other, pointing to the sky, a gesture Buddhists believe directs souls to heaven. Time, "Families of Thai Shooting Victims Wait for Answers and Bodies," 10 Feb. 2020 At least two incendiary devices, believed to be flares, were thrown into nearby traffic, police said. Fox News, "Anti-fascist protest in Oregon leads to 3 arrests, suspect sought for defacing war memorial," 10 Feb. 2020 The fatality toll has passed the 774 people believed to have died in the 2002-03 epidemic of severe acute respiratory syndrome, another viral outbreak that originated in China. Joe Mcdonald, Anchorage Daily News, "65 more cases of coronavirus are diagnosed on cruise ship quarantined in Japan," 10 Feb. 2020 It was widely known before Stone’s allegedly misleading September 2017 congressional testimony that the U.S. government believed WikiLeaks was inextricably linked to the issue of Russian interference. Zachary Halaschak, Washington Examiner, "Prosecutors recommend seven to nine years in prison for Roger Stone," 10 Feb. 2020 Relatives and friends of those believed to be trapped in the mall anxiously awaited word of their fate. Muktita Suhartono, New York Times, "‘Do Not Make Any Loud Noises’: A Thai Soldier’s 18-Hour Shooting Rampage," 9 Feb. 2020 Aside from the bragging rights and a hefty check for scholarships (up to $100,000), David Roberson, the program’s chef instructor and lead competition coach, believes the major gain comes from the experience itself. Dalila Thomas, Dallas News, "Meet the high school culinary students in Mansfield who are running their own restaurant," 8 Feb. 2020 Some overseas galleries were still committed to the Hong Kong fair last year, believing showing in Hong Kong was a way to support the city during the political turmoil. Vivienne Chow, Quartz, "The Hong Kong protests didn’t cancel this year’s Art Basel, but coronavirus did," 7 Feb. 2020

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

Cite this Entry

“Believe.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for believe


How to pronounce believe (audio)

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.
believed; believing

Legal Definition of believe

: to consider to be true or honest

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More from Merriam-Webster on believe

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for believe

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with believe

Spanish Central: Translation of believe

Nglish: Translation of believe for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of believe for Arabic Speakers

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