Definition of believe in English:



[with object]
  • 1Accept that (something) is true, especially without proof.

    ‘the superintendent believed Lancaster's story’
    with clause ‘some 23 per cent believe that smoking keeps down weight’
    • ‘In fact, the Trust believes the solution to many of our problems lies in the hands of managers.’
    • ‘What I think is so remarkable about these stories is that we can so very easily believe them.’
    • ‘Twelve months ago, the Worralls were looking forward to Christmas, believing Rose's condition was in remission.’
    • ‘Then he tells himself that, because he believes these things, they must be true.’
    • ‘The trust believes these measures will prevent similar problems in the future.’
    • ‘Spending on credit and debit cards was believed to have overtaken cash for the first time yesterday.’
    • ‘He said smoking was traditional and many men would not believe it affected their health.’
    • ‘So when Euclid described his geometry, many believed it to be the one true geometry.’
    • ‘It is believed a motorist witnessed the fall and police say there were no suspicious circumstances.’
    • ‘How many of you, as kids, read these insane stories and believed them to be true?’
    • ‘His team-mates believed the story was genuine because it suited them to believe it.’
    • ‘They believed it was a genuine news story, for why would anyone use the radio to fool and scare them?’
    • ‘Johnny seemed to be eating up this story and believing every word that came from their surrogate mother's mouth.’
    • ‘Her parents told police that she explained to them she had swallowed the liquid by accident, believing it was something else.’
    • ‘We all know this to be true, but cannot help believe a miracle diet will make losing the weight so much easier.’
    be convinced by, trust, have confidence in, consider honest, consider truthful
    regard as true, accept as true, accept, be convinced by, give credence to, credit, give credit to, trust, put confidence in, count on, rely on, depend on
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Accept the statement of (someone) as true.
      ‘he didn't believe her’
      • ‘Although the City didn't quite think that was true, they were inclined to believe him.’
      • ‘I don't know whether Juliet went away believing me but I suspect not.’
      • ‘Would you give me a sicknote so my boss believes me?’
      • ‘The American President can issue all the denials he wants, but nobody believes him any more.’
      • ‘And even if he was to take it upon himself to tell them the likelihood of anyone believing him is slight.’
      • ‘All the time laughing inwardly at them for believing me.’
      • ‘I was actually having trouble believing her because her project was looking THAT GOOD.’
      • ‘She nodded, obviously not believing me, but unwilling to make an issue of it.’
      • ‘I suddenly realised why these dudes were having so much trouble believing me.’
      • ‘Many people will not believe you, which shows that they understand you all too well.’
      • ‘One of those who manage to escape sees the bodies of 3,000 people but no one believes him.’
      • ‘The thing is that I never felt like an idiot for believing him.’
      • ‘She looked at me, all quizzical like, not quite believing me.’
      • ‘I love the way how no-one believes him when he explains what he does for a living.’
      • ‘No one believes me that our hot water has run out faster ever since we got a new shower head.’
      • ‘This offer was so pathetic that I couldn't imagine anyone believing him.’
      • ‘Many local people believed him when he spoke of the right or wrong siting of houses or tombs.’
      • ‘She also refuses to believe her when my friend says that people speak English in Trinidad.’
      • ‘Nobody believes me when I tell them that the movie was shot with him missing most of the times.’
    2. 1.2no object Have religious faith.
      ‘there are those on the fringes of the Church who do not really believe’
      • ‘For no matter what you might think about the man's church, at least he believed truly.’
      • ‘Why do people with a religion start to stop thinking and start believing?’
      • ‘Much of our strongest faith experience comes from simply believing and knowing that God is present.’
      • ‘Culture concerns beliefs and practices and we are responsible for what we believe and do.’
      • ‘Was it lifted up whole and intact to heaven, as the Catholic faith believes?’
      • ‘And there won't be Jews unless we go on scrupulously believing.’
      • ‘One such failure is that many churches have forgotten what they once believed.’
      • ‘God asks us to overcome what we cannot see, take a leap of faith and believe and trust in him.’
      • ‘It may well matter what we believe, and it does matter what beliefs the churches teach.’
      • ‘Faith is in crisis because few really believe and those that do are regarded as lunatics.’
      • ‘Is it just the comfort of a faith that keeps people believing?’
      • ‘Let us go into this article with a plain mind of understanding to achieve the holy will of our Lord in whom we believe.’
      • ‘Again, faith seems to me to be manifest in both a commitment to believe and mere mental inertia.’
      • ‘Obviously, he does not see the point of religion as the believer does, since for the believer seeing the point of religion is believing.’
      devout, pious, reverent, believing, godly, god-fearing, dutiful, saintly, holy, prayerful, churchgoing, practising, faithful, devoted, committed
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3believe something of Feel sure that (someone) is capable of doing something.
      ‘I wouldn't have believed it of Lavinia—what an extraordinary woman!’
      • ‘“It looks pretty bad for him, Mrs. Donovan,” said Diana, “but even so I can’t believe it of him either—I won’t believe it.”’
      • ‘I couldn't believe it of him because he had behaved so normally at home.’
  • 2with clause Hold (something) as an opinion; think.

    ‘I believe we've already met’
    ‘four men were believed to be trapped’
    • ‘But he believes that the figures and statistics do not matter - a single delay can cost a life.’
    • ‘Smith also believes it is acceptable for women to fight men, as long as they are properly matched for weight and ability.’
    • ‘Nevertheless, I am of the opinion that they would not have believed that this was their last chance.’
    • ‘He asked me to meet him and I believe that was on the same day as the telephone call.’
    • ‘They didn't even try to defend their territory now, believing that they had already lost.’
    • ‘This shows the groundswell of opinion that believes these weapons are immoral.’
    • ‘It is also true that the same experts have no very strong grounds for believing that this is more likely this year than in any year since 1918.’
    • ‘He believes that moving to Rochdale Infirmary will add to the already difficult parking problems.’
    • ‘Experts believe that these extreme weather events are likely to become much more frequent.’
    • ‘And there are good grounds for believing that the planning deadlines may not be met.’
    • ‘I have a hard time believing that my opinion would change regardless of who did the work though.’
    • ‘She believes it is time for women to be accepted in the life of the Mosque.’
    • ‘It is widely believed that the true picture of epidemic has still not emerged in China.’
    • ‘On his way, it is believed Mr Winfield fell and hit his head, causing the brain injury that led to his death.’
    • ‘But he is mistaken in believing that most voters will come to their own conclusions.’
    • ‘I believe that this was the first time I truly understood the power of good branding.’
    • ‘After four months, he returned to the front, believing that his primary duty lay to the men under his command.’
    • ‘It is believed that with one man already convicted of the bombing, there are no grounds to reopen the inquiries.’
    think, be of the opinion that, think it likely that, have an idea that, imagine, feel, have a feeling, hold, maintain, suspect, suppose, assume, presume, conjecture, surmise, postulate that, theorize that, conclude, come to the conclusion that, deduce
    View synonyms


  • believe it or not

    • Used to concede that a statement is surprising.

      ‘believe it or not, I was considered quite bright in those days’
      • ‘But, believe it or not, I was actually in Italy to soak up the art and the history.’
      • ‘This, believe it or not, is the award winning height of pub fashion in ‘cool’ Manchester today.’
      • ‘They took it four times a day, and they actually applied it to their nose, believe it or not.’
      • ‘And believe it or not, these traditions were carried on in Australia by the early settlers.’
      • ‘I decided to get an early night, so I actually started reading a book, believe it or not.’
      • ‘The chef looks after us so a bit of junk food one day of the year we're actually looking forward to believe it or not.’
      • ‘There was even dispute whether or not they were even illegal, believe it or not.’
      • ‘Despite the dry title, this was, believe it or not, another impulse buy at the bookstore.’
      • ‘This animal is still used, believe it or not, for a source of meat for people that live in that part of the world.’
      • ‘It sounds glamorous - and it is - but, believe it or not, it's also hard work.’
  • believe me (or believe you me)

    • Used to emphasize the truth of a statement.

      ‘believe me, it is well worth the effort’
      • ‘Because it hurts, believe you me, it hurts to see people who have to reach home early at night and lock up their doors.’
      • ‘Since more people think I'm quite chatty here and seem open to talking about EVERYTHING, they expect that I am quite the tell-all girl, but believe you me, there's so much I don't feel okay writing about.’
      • ‘But believe you me, he's as gutted as the rest of us.’
      • ‘Sounds almost boring as you describe it after the fact, but believe you me, this play will have you on the edge of your seat - a mean feat given the play is 96 minutes long with no intermission.’
      • ‘And believe you me, when she enters a room that room stops stone dead although with her own admission that geography is not her strong point, you wonder if she needs a map to get from the Green Room to the stage!’
      • ‘If you have problem, believe you me, you would be glad to have someone like me on your side - from stealing a to murdering your husband.’
      • ‘They won't have a transcript, but don't you worry, believe you me, if there is a discrepancy in which either side promised something in opening and they didn't deliver, they will hear about it in closing from the other side.’
      • ‘I'm sure people who don't work in supermarkets think it is GREAT, but believe you me, it isn't if it is you who has to work those hours.’
      • ‘‘I don't agree with all the people here, believe you me,’ he said.’
      • ‘Young Higgins will go where the money is, believe you me.’
  • be unable to (or be hardly able to) believe one's luck

    • Be amazed by how lucky one is on a particular occasion.

      ‘Clarke could hardly believe his luck as he put the ball into the empty net’
      • ‘The information contained in those journals gave him one surprise after another, he had almost been unable to believe it was true.’
      • ‘They stare up at me with sunken eyes, filled with shock, as if they had all died in a single instant and were unable to believe what they had seen.’
      • ‘I find myself increasingly in the position of being unable to believe the government's plans are quite as progressive as they claim and at the same time unable to take what passes for a ‘left opposition’ seriously.’
      • ‘Some elements would laud over a minor celebrity suffering self-induced problems but be unable to believe Jane could overcome huge physical pain to achieve athletic feats most of us could only dream of.’
      • ‘He hated to be judgmental, but he was unable to believe that someone like them were capable of doing a noble thing such as keeping a vow.’
      • ‘Like all his subsequent books, it was originally written in French, but publishing houses in his adopted country reputedly turned it down since they were unable to believe a foreigner could write well in their language.’
      • ‘She was unable to believe he would have set her up like that, or that he actually arrested her.’
      • ‘He was unable to believe that this lone creature could possibly destroy two of the most powerful Clans on the planet and everything else.’
  • be unable to believe one's eyes (or ears)

    • Be amazed by what one sees or hears.

      ‘I couldn't believe my eyes when I opened the box’
      • ‘Wow, I can't believe my eyes.... this is truly amazing.... and just so incredulous!’
      • ‘I get my first mile split and I can't believe my ears....7:15....what?? That can't be right! My legs don't feel like they are moving that fast!’
      • ‘They are true masters, sometimes i can't believe my ears, the whole band is unbelievable, very unique and really good music.’
  • don't you believe it!

    • Used to express disbelief in the truth of a statement.

      ‘he says he is left of centre, but don't you believe it’
      • ‘Well don't you believe it! We love race reports, each of which is unique and special so keep 'em coming!!’
      • ‘The campaign reinforces the message that if someone calls claiming “‘I’m from the Water Board’ - don’t you believe it, there’s no such thing!”’
  • would you believe (it)?

    • Used to express amazement about something.

      ‘they're still arguing, would you believe it?’
      • ‘The magazine of the Aurora tower in Sydney (would you believe?) approached me to write something for them.’
      • ‘Well, now we hear that a Swedish team (would you believe?) is about to publish news on the ancientness of dingo.’
      • ‘But it isn't Mel's, the last time I recall her having a boyfriend for more than a week was when we were about five, (Steve Davies would you believe?) it was in fact her 17 year old sisters.’
      • ‘There's a certain amount of a strangely fragrant and singing and dancing and calling out substance about, even (would you believe it?) in comments boxes.’
      • ‘He had been a bit fortunate because almost as soon as he was thrown out he was handed a lifeline by (would you believe?)’
      • ‘As much as gave us his blessing, would you believe it?’
      • ‘My parents have been harassing me about to much time on the ‘evil’ computer when my father works on (would you believe it?) a computer.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • believe in

    • 1Have faith in the truth or existence of.

      ‘those who believe in God’
      • ‘I'd almost stopped believing in its existence.’
      • ‘You don't have to believe in God or any religion, just accept that this is how it is.’
      • ‘The idea is to make the association evolve as a meeting place of those who have come from all parts of the country, speaking different languages and believing in different faiths and political ideologies.’
      • ‘We have to look at our faith, whatever faith we believe in, and ask ourselves what would our God do.’
      • ‘They sincerely believe in the existence of a global conspiracy against Russia.’
      • ‘I've never met a living soul who really believes in salvation by faith alone.’
      • ‘One said, had to say, that one believed in the existence, and if one did not believe, this was regarded as something bad.’
      • ‘Kate didn't believe in god, but her opinions towards the infrastructure of the World were astonishing.’
      • ‘If no one believed in its existence, no one would come looking for it.’
      • ‘He truly believed in the fundamental truth of every religion.’
      • ‘Rural dwellers have traditionally believed in the existence of a variety of supernatural beings.’
      • ‘Most battle leaders believed in the existence of the demons, but it was a difficult thing to prove.’
      • ‘Because of their political conditioning, many people would rather not see the truth, but continue believing in the innocence of their favorite politicians.’
      • ‘But then they, unlike myself also believe in the existence of God, and in Life Everlasting.’
      • ‘I had seen it with my own eyes; but I refused to believe in the existence of ghosts.’
      • ‘And what is gifted to us is love - the faith to believe in God and the grace to begin again.’
      • ‘It's more that he was right for the right reasons, and because he believed in the possibility of truth and in the importance of the individual.’
      • ‘And that, in my opinion, is about as intellectually respectable as believing in the Tooth Fairy.’
      • ‘I also have trouble sometimes believing in faith where there is no reality.’
      • ‘It seems to me to require a lot of faith to believe in evolution.’
      be convinced of the existence of, be sure of the existence of, be persuaded of the existence of, believe in the existence of
      View synonyms
    • 2Be of the opinion that (something) is right or acceptable.

      ‘I don't believe in censorship of the arts’
      • ‘We believe in the importance of public opinion and its effects, and learn from our experiences.’
      • ‘Sri Lanka, being a nation with a fairly long record of independence, have always believed in the freedom of opinion in many fields.’
      • ‘Perhaps the idea that young people don't believe in God is not as scary as the idea that they may stop believing in the power of doing good, and of accepting and supporting one another.’
      • ‘He believed in dialogue among different faiths for the preservation of peace on earth.’
      • ‘They may exercise voice because they believe in the value of their opinion, instead of believing in the value of having the person with the proper rank hear their opinion.’
      • ‘He believed in demonstrating his faith by standing up to the Nazi regime.’
      • ‘You accept it because you believe in free speech and open debate.’
      • ‘The Roman Catholic faith believed in marriage for life. It did not recognise, let alone support, divorce.’
      • ‘So I believe in accepting your choices in life and facing up to them.’
      • ‘It believes in telling the truth about drugs, even if it means admitting that there can be pleasure using them.’
    • 3Have confidence in (a person or a course of action)

      ‘he had finally begun to believe in her’
      • ‘We seem to have found the cure, now it's just a question of going onto the course and believing in it.’
      • ‘He has to keep his confidence up and keep believing in himself, or he will hurt the entire team.’
      • ‘If flirting doesn't come naturally to you, you can learn to flirt by building your confidence, believing in yourself and interacting with other people.’
      • ‘If I can major in math after failing geometry twice, you can pass one science course, I believe in you.’
      • ‘I should've had a little faith in him, believed in him that he'd be my friend and NOT freak out.’
      • ‘Confidence is believing in yourself to do what has to be done.’
      • ‘It's about forming young people and giving them the confidence to believe in themselves.’
      • ‘She's given me the confidence to believe in myself, and that anything's possible if you try.’
      • ‘Yet I find it hard to accept that no one believes in the film.’
      • ‘He had us watched on a number of occasions so we can feel confident that he believes in our ability and that we can fit into their game style.’
      have faith in, pin one's faith on, trust in, have every confidence in, cling to, set store by, value, swear by, be convinced by, be persuaded by
      View synonyms


Late Old English belȳfan, belēfan, alteration of gelēfan, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch geloven and German glauben, also to lief.