Believe



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.
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.
believe in,

to be persuaded of the truth or existence of:
to believe in Zoroastrianism; to believe in ghosts.
to have faith in the reliability, honesty, benevolence, etc., of:
I can help only if you believe in me.

make believe. make1 (def 68).
Contemporary Examples

And audiences almost always judge who they believe to be the more aggressive debater as the victor.
Mitt Romney Offense Trumped Barack Obama Defense in Presidential Debate Brett O’Donnell October 3, 2012

Given how much each had already invested in their candidate, what choice did they have but to believe him?
I Just Can’t Hate John Edwards Eric Alterman January 20, 2010

We believe that is the only sustainable path to genuine stability.
Saudi Arabia Blames America for the Turmoil in Egypt Bruce Riedel August 18, 2013

“There is no reason to believe that after the first wave, all was safe,” Chaffetz told The Daily Beast.
John McCain to Meet With Susan Rice to Settle Benghazi Score Eli Lake November 25, 2012

But the point is to write about it or say about if they believe it.
On Frum’s Departure Michael Tomasky June 2, 2013

Historical Examples

“I believe the Bible says to leave all and cleave unto your wife,” returned Garrison.
Garrison’s Finish W. B. M. Ferguson

But believe me, Eudora, Alcibiades will never divorce Hipparete.
Philothea Lydia Maria Child

“I believe I saw Mr. Gallant several nights ago,” Gibson said.
Spring Street James H. Richardson

I believe he has given the Athenians philtres to make them love him.
Philothea Lydia Maria Child

And, believe me, they was the fanciest poultry specimens I’d ever seen!
Torchy, Private Sec. Sewell Ford

verb
(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
v.

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.

Related Terms

you better believe something

believe it or not
believe one’s ears

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    something that belongs. belongings, possessions; goods; personal effects. to be in the relation of a member, adherent, inhabitant, etc. (usually followed by to): He belongs to the Knights of Columbus. to have the proper qualifications, especially social qualifications, to be a member of a group: You don’t belong in this club. to be proper or […]

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