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believe

[bih-leev] /bɪˈliv/
verb (used without object), believed, believing.
1.
to have confidence in the truth, the existence, or the reliability of something, although without absolute proof that one is right in doing so:
Only if one believes in something can one act purposefully.
verb (used with object), believed, believing.
2.
to have confidence or faith in the truth of (a positive assertion, story, etc.); give credence to.
3.
to have confidence in the assertions of (a person).
4.
to have a conviction that (a person or thing) is, has been, or will be engaged in a given action or involved in a given situation:
The fugitive is believed to be headed for the Mexican border.
5.
to suppose or assume; understand (usually followed by a noun clause):
I believe that he has left town.
Verb phrases
6.
believe in,
  1. to be persuaded of the truth or existence of:
    to believe in Zoroastrianism; to believe in ghosts.
  2. to have faith in the reliability, honesty, benevolence, etc., of:
    I can help only if you believe in me.
Idioms
7.
make believe. make (def 46).
Origin
1150-1200
1150-1200; Middle English bileven, equivalent to bi- be- + leven, Old English (Anglian) gelēfan (cognate with Dutch gelooven, German glauben, Gothic galaubjan)
Related forms
believability, believableness, noun
believable, adjective
believably, adverb
believer, noun
believingly, adverb
half-believed, adjective
half-believing, adjective
prebelieve, verb, prebelieved, prebelieving.
prebeliever, noun
superbelievable, adjective
superbelievableness, noun
superbelievably, adverb
well-believed, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for believe
  • Some crime experts believe all the country's major kidnap gangs rely in part on the participation of the police.
  • Some people don't believe in luck.
  • We can't believe how outrageously yummy these halibut skewers are.
  • Scientists believe that male lions' manes may help protect their throats during battles with other males.
  • You won't believe your eyes when you see these visual illusions .
  • The restaurant itself evokes the local scene so strongly that it's hard to believe it's just a few months old.
  • The map says it's part of Africa, but don't believe it.
  • Scientists believe they may be able to use stem cells as replacements or patches in people with various diseases.
  • The book is an attempt to explain scientifically why so many people believe in God.
  • If people don't see it they wont believe it.
British Dictionary definitions for believe

believe

/bɪˈliːv/
verb
1.
(transitive; may take a clause as object) to accept (a statement, supposition, or opinion) as true I believe God exists
2.
(transitive) to accept the statement or opinion of (a person) as true
3.
(intransitive) foll by in. to be convinced of the truth or existence (of) to believe in fairies
4.
(intransitive) to have religious faith
5.
(when transitive, takes a clause as object) to think, assume, or suppose I believe that he has left already
6.
(transitive; foll by of; used with can, could, would, etc) to think that someone is able to do (a particular action) I wouldn't have believed it of him
Derived Forms
believability, noun
believable, adjective
believably, adverb
believer, noun
believing, noun, adjective
Word Origin
Old English beliefan
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 believe
v.

Old English belyfan "to believe," earlier geleafa (Mercian), gelefa (Northumbrian), gelyfan (West Saxon) "believe," from Proto-Germanic *ga-laubjan "to believe," perhaps literally "hold dear, love" (cf. Old Saxon gilobian "believe," Dutch geloven, Old High German gilouben, German glauben), ultimately a compound based on PIE *leubh- "to care, desire, love" (see belief).

Spelling beleeve is common till 17c.; then altered, perhaps by influence of relieve, etc. To believe on instead of in was more common in 16c. but now is a peculiarity of theology; believe of also sometimes was used in 17c. Related: Believed (formerly occasionally beleft); believing. Expression believe it or not attested by 1874; Robert Ripley's newspaper cartoon of the same name is from 1918. Emphatic you better believe attested from 1854.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for believe

believe

Related Terms

you better believe something


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with believe
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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