One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
(A) Belief which goes beyond the evidence; a level of belief and faith beyond what is usually required of members of a certain religion or sect. (b) A belief which determines other beliefs; an overriding belief or guiding principle, frequently arising out of a person's own emotional and spiritual experiences. (c) A belief or superstition surviving from the past.
Mid 19th century; earliest use found in Richard Burton (1821–1890), explorer and author. From over- + belief.
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