dis·​be·​lieve | \-ˈlēv \

Definition of disbelieve 

transitive verb

: to hold not worthy of belief : not believe

intransitive verb

: to withhold or reject belief

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Other Words from disbelieve

disbeliever noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for disbelieve


discredit, negate


accept, believe, credit, swallow

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Examples of disbelieve in a Sentence

Several jurors disbelieved the witness's testimony. many disbelieved the medium's claims that she could communicate with the spirits of the dead

Recent Examples on the Web

His supporters were going to disbelieve anything Obama said. George Packer, The New Yorker, "Witnessing the Obama Presidency, from Start to Finish," 5 June 2018 One of the greatest tricks that the patriarchy plays on women is to deliberately destabilize them, then use their instability as a reason to disbelieve them. James Hohmann, Washington Post, "The Daily 202: Koch network laying groundwork to fundamentally transform America’s education system," 30 Jan. 2018 Most recently, it’s been promoted as a unique public holiday in Armenia—even one that may be attracting tourists from other countries, many of whom share the wild scenes of water-throwing among disbelieving friends back home, or on YouTube. Roger Catlin, Smithsonian, "The Point of Armenia’s Splashy Holiday is Getting Wet," 3 July 2018 UConn can emphasize that regardless of whether the Miller transcript contained accurate or inaccurate assertions, the university had no reason to disbelieve those assertions. Michael Mccann, SI.com, "Breaking Down Kevin Ollie's Case Against UConn and the University's Likely Defenses," 29 June 2018 Haas also makes the larger point that women—especially women of color—are often disbelieved and dismissed by medical professionals. Helen Rosner, The New Yorker, "The Mail," 6 June 2018 The trauma of it all led him to write a lengthy letter to Pope Francis in 2015 detailing the abuse — only to have the pontiff disbelieve him. Aubrey Nagle, Philly.com, "How Philly ER docs combat opioids, local biz learns from bias training | Morning Newsletter," 29 May 2018 Perhaps the most notable: Numerous women made allegations about the brothers that were ignored or disbelieved, with the first complaints dating as far back as 2006. Kristen Bellstrom, Fortune, "USA Taekwondo, Eric Schneiderman's Replacement, Nike Shakeup: Broadsheet May 9," 9 May 2018 But instead of cringing at the endless jokes and snickers — at the double-takes and disbelieving restaurant hostesses — the handful of descendants named after the famed Bostonian have openly embraced it. Dugan Arnett, BostonGlobe.com, "For the other Paul Reveres, every day is Patriots Day," 10 May 2018

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

circa 1644, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

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Statistics for disbelieve

Last Updated

11 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for disbelieve

The first known use of disbelieve was circa 1644

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More Definitions for disbelieve



English Language Learners Definition of disbelieve

: to not believe (someone or something)


dis·​be·​lieve | \ˌdis-bə-ˈlēv \
disbelieved; disbelieving

Kids Definition of disbelieve

: to think not to be true or real The jury disbelieved the story.

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Comments on disbelieve

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


by force of circumstances

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