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belief

[bih-leef] /bɪˈlif/
noun
1.
something believed; an opinion or conviction:
a belief that the earth is flat.
2.
confidence in the truth or existence of something not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof:
a statement unworthy of belief.
3.
confidence; faith; trust:
a child's belief in his parents.
4.
a religious tenet or tenets; religious creed or faith:
the Christian belief.
Origin
1125-1175
1125-75; earlier bile(e)ve (noun use of v.); replacing Middle English bileave, equivalent to bi- be- + leave; compare Old English gelēafa (cognate with Dutch geloof, German Glaube; akin to Gothic galaubeins)
Related forms
prebelief, noun
superbelief, noun
Synonyms
1. view, tenet, conclusion, persuasion. 2. assurance. Belief, certainty, conviction refer to acceptance of, or confidence in, an alleged fact or body of facts as true or right without positive knowledge or proof. Belief is such acceptance in general: belief in astrology. Certainty indicates unquestioning belief and positiveness in one's own mind that something is true: I know this for a certainty. Conviction is settled, profound, or earnest belief that something is right: a conviction that a decision is just. 4. doctrine, dogma.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for belief
  • belief in efficient-market theory made the authorities reluctant to restrain either the dotcom or the housing and credit bubbles.
  • It is also putting a monotheistic belief above pantheism, for another.
  • belief, disbelief and uncertainty generate different neural pathways .
  • His explanation for this seemingly superhuman feat seemed logical enough — even if his memory defies belief.
  • After all, the great enemy of belief isn't disbelief but indifference.
  • Some of the smartest people have the oddest beliefs sometimes.
  • During the first half of the nineteenth century, the belief in a universal deluge was widely held by geologists.
  • Of the thirty-one jurors accepted by the prosecutor, all professed a belief in capital punishment.
  • We are very far from acting in accordance with that belief.
  • It seems like every day we hear how some long held belief is wrong.
British Dictionary definitions for belief

belief

/bɪˈliːf/
noun
1.
a principle, proposition, idea, etc, accepted as true
2.
opinion; conviction
3.
religious faith
4.
trust or confidence, as in a person or a person's abilities, probity, etc
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for belief
n.

late 12c., bileave, replacing Old English geleafa "belief, faith," from West Germanic *ga-laubon "to hold dear, esteem, trust" (cf. Old Saxon gilobo, Middle Dutch gelove, Old High German giloubo, German Glaube), from *galaub- "dear, esteemed," from intensive prefix *ga- + *leubh- "to care, desire, like, love" (see love (v.)). The prefix was altered on analogy of the verb believe. The distinction of the final consonant from that of believe developed 15c.

"The be-, which is not a natural prefix of nouns, was prefixed on the analogy of the vb. (where it is naturally an intensive) .... [OED]
Belief used to mean "trust in God," while faith meant "loyalty to a person based on promise or duty" (a sense preserved in keep one's faith, in good (or bad) faith and in common usage of faithful, faithless, which contain no notion of divinity). But faith, as cognate of Latin fides, took on the religious sense beginning in 14c. translations, and belief had by 16c. become limited to "mental acceptance of something as true," from the religious use in the sense of "things held to be true as a matter of religious doctrine" (a sense attested from early 13c.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for belief

a mental attitude of acceptance or assent toward a proposition without the full intellectual knowledge required to guarantee its truth. Believing is either an intellectual judgment or, as the 18th-century Scottish Skeptic David Hume maintained, a special sort of feeling with overtones that differ from those of disbelief. Beliefs have been distinguished according to their degree of certainty: a surmise or suspicion, an opinion, or a conviction. Belief becomes knowledge only when the truth of a proposition becomes evident to the believer. Belief in someone or something is basically different from belief that a proposition is true

Learn more about belief with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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