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believe

Definition from Dictionary, a free dictionary
If only one could tell true love from false love as one can tell mushrooms from toadstools.
Katherine Mansfield
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English

Etymology

From be-/ge- + a short form of Old English ġelȳfan, (leafa).

Pronunciation

Verb

Infinitive
to believe

Third person singular
believ

Simple past
-

Past participle
-

Present participle
ing

to believe (third-person singular simple present believ, present participle ing, simple past and past participle -)
  1. (transitive) To accept that someone is telling the truth.
    • Why did I ever believe you?
  2. (transitive) To accept as true.
    • If you believe the numbers, you'll agree we need change.
  3. (transitive) To consider likely.
    • I believe it might rain tomorrow.
  4. (intransitive) To have religious faith; to believe in a greater truth.
    • After that night in the church, I believed.

Usage notes

  • The transitive verb believe and the phrasal verb believe in are similar but can have very different implications.
    • To “believe” someone or something means to accept specific pieces of information as truth: believe the news, believe the lead witness. To “believe a complete stranger” means to accept a stranger's story with little evidence.
    • To “believe in” someone or something means to place faith in that person or concept: believe in liberty, believe in God. To “believe in one's fellow man” means to place faith in mankind.
  • Meanings sometimes overlap. To believe in a religious text would also require affirming at least the major principles. To believe a religious text might likewise imply placing one's faith in it, in addition to accepting its statements as facts.

Quotations

  • 1611King James Version of the Bible, Luke 1:1
    Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us...

Derived terms

Related terms

Translations

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