faith

1 of 2

noun

plural faiths ˈfāths How to pronounce faith (audio)
 sometimes  ˈfāt͟hz
1
a
: allegiance to duty or a person : loyalty
lost faith in the company's president
b(1)
: fidelity to one's promises
(2)
: sincerity of intentions
acted in good faith
2
a(1)
: belief and trust in and loyalty to God
(2)
: belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion
b(1)
: firm belief in something for which there is no proof
clinging to the faith that her missing son would one day return
(2)
: complete trust
3
: something that is believed especially with strong conviction
especially : a system of religious beliefs
the Protestant faith

faith

2 of 2

verb

faithed; faithing; faiths
Phrases
on faith
: without question
took everything he said on faith
Choose the Right Synonym for faith

belief, faith, credence, credit mean assent to the truth of something offered for acceptance.

belief may or may not imply certitude in the believer.

my belief that I had caught all the errors

faith almost always implies certitude even where there is no evidence or proof.

an unshakable faith in God

credence suggests intellectual assent without implying anything about grounds for assent.

a theory now given credence by scientists

credit may imply assent on grounds other than direct proof.

gave full credit to the statement of a reputable witness

Example Sentences

Noun Faith without doubt leads to moral arrogance, the eternal pratfall of the religiously convinced. Joe Klein, Time, 17 May 2004
Nick wiped at the moustache of sweat droplets that was as much a part of his face as his eyes and nose and gave a shrug that indicated a certain lack of faith in our judgment. Tom Perrotta, Joe College, 2000
But while no one with a grain of sense trusted Miss Stephanie, Jem and I had considerable faith in Miss Maudie. She had never told on us, had never played cat-and-mouse with us, she was not at all interested in our private lives. She was our friend. Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird, 1960
His supporters have accepted his claims with blind faith. Our faith in the government has been badly shaken by the recent scandals. Lending him the money to start his own business was an act of faith. It requires a giant leap of faith for us to believe that she is telling the truth. Nothing is more important to her than her faith in God. She says that her faith has given her the courage to deal with this tragedy. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
There is no such thing as a coincidence in Southern Baptist confession of faith. Deborah Netburn Los Angeles Times (tns), al, 1 Mar. 2023 And just in general feeling very grateful to them for having such faith in my writing. K.j. Yossman, Variety, 28 Feb. 2023 All those around him had faith Tuesday night, and so did Marmion’s Collin Wainscott. Rick Armstrong, Chicago Tribune, 28 Feb. 2023 Irv Cross was a man of faith and a devout football fan who could no longer attend Bible study or watch NFL games with friends in his final years. CBS News, 28 Feb. 2023 Some tap into Clampitt’s political activism and crises of faith. Malcolm Forbes, WSJ, 24 Feb. 2023 Agreeing to work with Merakey on the project was a leap of faith for Furballs Furever Rescue which has only been up and running in Escondido for three years. San Diego Union-Tribune, 21 Feb. 2023 The Taliban took Kabulalmost without a fight because Afghans had little faith in their government. Tom Vanden Brook, USA TODAY, 20 Feb. 2023 Chiefs fans always have faith when the ball is in the hands of Patrick Mahomes. Christopher L. Gasper, BostonGlobe.com, 4 Feb. 2023 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'faith.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

Middle English feith, fei, borrowed from Anglo-French feit, feid, fei, going back to Latin fidēs "trust, guarantee, proof, sincerity, loyalty, belief," going back to *bhid-ēi-, noun derivative from zero-grade of an Indo-European verbal base *bhei̯dh- "entrust, trust," whence Latin fīdere "to trust (in), have confidence (in)," fīdus "faithful," Greek peíthesthai "to obey, comply with, believe," peíthein "to persuade, prevail upon," Albanian be "oath," and probably Old Church Slavic běždǫ, běditi "to compel, constrain," běda "distress, need"

Note: The English word is an early loan from medieval French, first attested in a homily fragment from the 12th century (see feþ in Dictionary of Old English); it appears to preserve the final interdental fricative generally lost in early Old French—a loss reflected in the more common Anglo-French form fei (also loaned into Middle English—see fay entry 2). Indo-European *bhei̯dh- is also usually claimed to be the source of Germanic *bīðan- "to wait" (see bide).

Verb

verbal derivative of faith entry 1

First Known Use

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of faith was in the 13th century

Dictionary Entries Near faith

Cite this Entry

“Faith.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/faith. Accessed 27 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition

faith

noun
ˈfāth
1
a
: devotion to duty or a person : loyalty
b
: the quality of keeping one's promises
2
a
: belief and trust in and loyalty to God
b
: belief in the doctrines of a religion
c
: firm belief even in the absence of proof
d
: complete confidence
3
: something that is firmly believed
especially : a system of religious beliefs
Etymology

Noun

Middle English feith "loyalty," from early French feid, foi (same meaning), from Latin fides "faith," from fidere "to trust" — related to bona fide, confide, fiancé

Legal Definition

faith

noun
1
a
: allegiance or loyalty to a duty or a person
b
: sincerity or honesty of intentions see also bad faith, good faith
2
: fidelity to one's promises and obligations

More from Merriam-Webster on faith

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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