Definition of believe in US English:



[with object]
  • 1Accept (something) as true; feel sure of the truth of.

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

    ‘I believe we've already met’
    ‘four men were believed to be trapped’
    ‘things were not as bad as the experts believed’
    ‘humu-humu are, I believe, shrimp fritters’
    • ‘They didn't even try to defend their territory now, believing that they had already lost.’
    • ‘It is widely believed that the true picture of epidemic has still not emerged in China.’
    • ‘Nevertheless, I am of the opinion that they would not have believed that this was their last chance.’
    • ‘On his way, it is believed Mr Winfield fell and hit his head, causing the brain injury that led to his death.’
    • ‘And there are good grounds for believing that the planning deadlines may not be met.’
    • ‘He asked me to meet him and I believe that was on the same day as the telephone call.’
    • ‘I believe that this was the first time I truly understood the power of good branding.’
    • ‘This shows the groundswell of opinion that believes these weapons are immoral.’
    • ‘He believes that moving to Rochdale Infirmary will add to the already difficult parking problems.’
    • ‘She believes it is time for women to be accepted in the life of the Mosque.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It is believed that with one man already convicted of the bombing, there are no grounds to reopen the inquiries.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘After four months, he returned to the front, believing that his primary duty lay to the men under his command.’
    • ‘Experts believe that these extreme weather events are likely to become much more frequent.’
    • ‘I have a hard time believing that my opinion would change regardless of who did the work though.’
    • ‘But he is mistaken in believing that most voters will come to their own conclusions.’
    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 proposition or statement is surprising.

      ‘believe it or not, the speaker was none other than Horace’
      • ‘And believe it or not, these traditions were carried on in Australia by the early settlers.’
      • ‘This animal is still used, believe it or not, for a source of meat for people that live in that part of the world.’
      • ‘They took it four times a day, and they actually applied it to their nose, believe it or not.’
      • ‘Despite the dry title, this was, believe it or not, another impulse buy at the bookstore.’
      • ‘This, believe it or not, is the award winning height of pub fashion in ‘cool’ Manchester today.’
      • ‘It sounds glamorous - and it is - but, believe it or not, it's also hard work.’
      • ‘There was even dispute whether or not they were even illegal, believe it or not.’
      • ‘But, believe it or not, I was actually in Italy to soak up the art and the history.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I decided to get an early night, so I actually started reading a book, believe it or not.’
  • believe me (or believe you me)

    • Used to emphasize the truth of a statement or assertion.

      ‘believe me, she is a shrewd woman’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But believe you me, he's as gutted as the rest of us.’
      • ‘Because it hurts, believe you me, it hurts to see people who have to reach home early at night and lock up their doors.’
      • ‘Young Higgins will go where the money is, believe you me.’
      • ‘‘I don't agree with all the people here, believe you me,’ he said.’
      • ‘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!’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
  • 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’
      • ‘They are true masters, sometimes i can't believe my ears, the whole band is unbelievable, very unique and really good music.’
      • ‘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!’
  • don't you believe it!

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

      ‘he says he is left of center, but don't you believe it’
      • ‘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!”’
      • ‘Well don't you believe it! We love race reports, each of which is unique and special so keep 'em coming!!’
  • would you believe it?

    • Used to express surprise at something one is relating.

      ‘they're still arguing, would you believe it?’
      • ‘Well, now we hear that a Swedish team (would you believe?) is about to publish news on the ancientness of dingo.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He had been a bit fortunate because almost as soon as he was thrown out he was handed a lifeline by (would you believe?)’
      • ‘The magazine of the Aurora tower in Sydney (would you believe?) approached me to write something for them.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘As much as gave us his blessing, would you believe it?’
  • be unable (or hardly able) to believe something

    • Be amazed by something.

      ‘I couldn't believe what was happening’
      ‘Clarke could hardly believe his luck as he put the ball into the empty net’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The information contained in those journals gave him one surprise after another, he had almost been unable to believe it was true.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He was unable to believe that this lone creature could possibly destroy two of the most powerful Clans on the planet and everything else.’
      • ‘She was unable to believe he would have set her up like that, or that he actually arrested her.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • believe in

    • 1Have faith in the truth or existence of.

      ‘I believe in ghosts’
      • ‘Because of their political conditioning, many people would rather not see the truth, but continue believing in the innocence of their favorite politicians.’
      • ‘It seems to me to require a lot of faith to believe in evolution.’
      • ‘But then they, unlike myself also believe in the existence of God, and in Life Everlasting.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘One said, had to say, that one believed in the existence, and if one did not believe, this was regarded as something bad.’
      • ‘And that, in my opinion, is about as intellectually respectable as believing in the Tooth Fairy.’
      • ‘I'd almost stopped believing in its existence.’
      • ‘I've never met a living soul who really believes in salvation by faith alone.’
      • ‘They sincerely believe in the existence of a global conspiracy against Russia.’
      • ‘If no one believed in its existence, no one would come looking for it.’
      • ‘I also have trouble sometimes believing in faith where there is no reality.’
      • ‘And what is gifted to us is love - the faith to believe in God and the grace to begin again.’
      • ‘You don't have to believe in God or any religion, just accept that this is how it is.’
      • ‘I had seen it with my own eyes; but I refused to believe in the existence of ghosts.’
      • ‘Rural dwellers have traditionally believed in the existence of a variety of supernatural beings.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Most battle leaders believed in the existence of the demons, but it was a difficult thing to prove.’
      • ‘Kate didn't believe in god, but her opinions towards the infrastructure of the World were astonishing.’
      • ‘He truly believed in the fundamental truth of every religion.’
      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, proper, or desirable.

      ‘I don't believe in censorship of the arts’
      ‘he didn't believe in sex before marriage’
      • ‘Sri Lanka, being a nation with a fairly long record of independence, have always believed in the freedom of opinion in many fields.’
      • ‘He believed in dialogue among different faiths for the preservation of peace on earth.’
      • ‘You accept it because you believe in free speech and open debate.’
      • ‘We believe in the importance of public opinion and its effects, and learn from our experiences.’
      • ‘He believed in demonstrating his faith by standing up to the Nazi regime.’
      • ‘It believes in telling the truth about drugs, even if it means admitting that there can be pleasure using them.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘So I believe in accepting your choices in life and facing up to them.’
      • ‘The Roman Catholic faith believed in marriage for life. It did not recognise, let alone support, divorce.’
    • 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.’
      • ‘If I can major in math after failing geometry twice, you can pass one science course, I believe in you.’
      • ‘Yet I find it hard to accept that no one believes in the film.’
      • ‘She's given me the confidence to believe in myself, and that anything's possible if you try.’
      • ‘He has to keep his confidence up and keep believing in himself, or he will hurt the entire team.’
      • ‘It's about forming young people and giving them the confidence to believe in themselves.’
      • ‘Confidence is believing in yourself to do what has to be done.’
      • ‘I should've had a little faith in him, believed in him that he'd be my friend and NOT freak out.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.