dis·​be·​lief | \ ˌdis-bə-ˈlēf \

Definition of disbelief 

: the act of disbelieving : mental rejection of something as untrue

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Synonyms & Antonyms for disbelief


incredulity, nonbelief, unbelief


belief, credence, credit

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Examples of disbelief in a Sentence

She stared at him in utter disbelief. their story explaining their absence was met with frank disbelief

Recent Examples on the Web

At the very least, a recent discovery in a remote region of northeastern Brazil has biologists shaking their heads in disbelief. Jill Kiedaisch, Popular Mechanics, "Found: A Field of Termite Mounds You Can See From Space," 19 Nov. 2018 The camera panned over to Bobby who was giving the thumbs down and shaking his head in disbelief. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "'Dancing With the Stars' Fans Ready to Revolt After Monday's Shocking Elimination Results," 13 Nov. 2018 Fan, Russell’s childhood friend, remains in disbelief that his friend actually did this. Hal Bernton, The Seattle Times, "Richard Russell was a jokester who complained about work, but Sea-Tac plane heist still baffles friends," 20 Aug. 2018 The first shot prompts awe mingled with disbelief—a tiny figure in a bright red shirt, seen from above, clinging to the face of an immense cliff. Joe Morgenstern, WSJ, "‘Free Solo’ Review: Gripping Drama, Surpassing Spectacle," 27 Sep. 2018 Because Jossie was held in such high esteem at the time, Kraus said, there was disbelief in the community about the seriousness of the charges. Darryl Enriquez, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Former Oak Creek High School coach gets 11 years in prison for sexual assaults of a student," 18 May 2018 Leonard breaks the news to Sheldon and Amy, who are in complete and utter disbelief. Jessica Radloff, Glamour, "The Big Bang Theory Season 12, Episode 9 Recap: Amy and Sheldon's Project Falls Apart," 15 Nov. 2018 For many centuries, disbelief in the idea was probably a combination of a lack of awareness and its appearance of flatness in everyday experience. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Why does flat Earth belief still exist?," 7 Nov. 2018 But all that Googling, Oprah said, left her in adamant disbelief that she could be healed with a regimen as simple as drinking water and sucking on lemons. Andrea Park, SELF, "Oprah Winfrey Made the Very Human Mistake of Google-Diagnosing the Lump in Her Neck," 10 Oct. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'disbelief.' 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 disbelief

1672, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for disbelief

Last Updated

6 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for disbelief

The first known use of disbelief was in 1672

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More Definitions for disbelief



English Language Learners Definition of disbelief

: a feeling that you do not or cannot believe or accept that something is true or real


dis·​be·​lief | \ ˌdis-bə-ˈlēf \

Kids Definition of disbelief

: refusal or inability to believe She watched in disbelief.

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Comments on disbelief

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a person who helps groups work together

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