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[bih-leev] /bɪˈliv/
verb (used without object), believed, believing.
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.
to have confidence or faith in the truth of (a positive assertion, story, etc.); give credence to.
to have confidence in the assertions of (a person).
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.
to suppose or assume; understand (usually followed by a noun clause):
I believe that he has left town.
Verb phrases
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.
make believe. make1 (def 68).
Origin of believe
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 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for believer
  • He wasn't merely unsuspicious of language, he was a believer, he had faith in it.
  • The philanthropist was ever after a firm believer in the total depravity of tenement-house people.
  • The believer can scarce earn his food, while the impious infidel is favoured.
  • He clearly underwent a conversion of sorts, and he's now a firm believer in online learning.
  • Speaking now as a non-believer, that seems to me to be perfectly reasonable.
  • All of this scouring for medical miracles when the real miracle, for believer and nonbeliever, is existence and life itself.
  • Still, it is a genuine occasion, offering much to think about for believer and doubter alike.
  • Ultimately, he is a believer in free markets and in financial markets.
  • She was a great believer in following the custom of the country in moments of uncertainty.
  • If you are a true believer in the glory of the market, the work might be invigorating, and the long hours a mark of pride.
British Dictionary definitions for believer


(transitive; may take a clause as object) to accept (a statement, supposition, or opinion) as true: I believe God exists
(transitive) to accept the statement or opinion of (a person) as true
(intransitive) foll by in. to be convinced of the truth or existence (of): to believe in fairies
(intransitive) to have religious faith
(when transitive, takes a clause as object) to think, assume, or suppose: I believe that he has left already
(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 believer

"one who has faith in religion," 1540s, agent noun from believe.



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 believer


Related Terms

make a believer out of someone


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 believer
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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