Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To accept as true or real: Do you believe the news stories?
  • transitive v. To credit with veracity: I believe you.
  • transitive v. To expect or suppose; think: I believe they will arrive shortly.
  • intransitive v. To have firm faith, especially religious faith.
  • intransitive v. To have faith, confidence, or trust: I believe in your ability to solve the problem.
  • intransitive v. To have confidence in the truth or value of something: We believe in free speech.
  • intransitive v. To have an opinion; think: They have already left, I believe.
  • idiom believe (one's) ears To trust what one has heard.
  • idiom believe (one's) eyes To trust what one has seen.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To think something is true without having proof or empirical evidence.
  • v. To accept that someone is telling the truth.
  • v. To accept as true.
  • v. To have religious faith; to believe in a greater truth.
  • v. To consider likely.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • intransitive v. To have a firm persuasion, esp. of the truths of religion; to have a persuasion approaching to certainty; to exercise belief or faith.
  • intransitive v. To think; to suppose.
  • transitive v. To exercise belief in; to credit upon the authority or testimony of another; to be persuaded of the truth of, upon evidence furnished by reasons, arguments, and deductions of the mind, or by circumstances other than personal knowledge; to regard or accept as true; to place confidence in; to think; to consider.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To have faith or confidence.
  • To exercise trust or confidence; rely through faith: generally with on.
  • To be persuaded of the truth of anything; accept a doctrine, principle, system, etc., as true, or as an object of faith: with in: as, “I believe in the Holy Ghost, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints,” etc., Apostles' Crecd; to believe in Buddhism. See belief.
  • To credit upon the ground of authority, testimony, argument, or any other ground than complete demonstration; accept as true; give credence to. See belief.
  • To give credence to (a person making a statement, anything said, etc.).
  • To expect or hope with confidence; trust.
  • To be of opinion; think; understand: as, I believe he has left the city.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. follow a credo; have a faith; be a believer
  • v. judge or regard; look upon; judge
  • v. accept as true; take to be true
  • v. be confident about something
  • v. credit with veracity

Etymologies

Middle English bileven, from Old English belȳfan, belēfan, gelēfan; see leubh- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English beleven, bileven, from Old English belīefan ("to believe"), from Proto-Germanic *bilaubijanan (“to believe”), equivalent to be- +‎ leave (“to allow, permit”). Cognate with Scots beleve ("to believe"). Compare Old English ġelīefan ("to be dear to; believe, trust"), Old English ġelēafa ("belief, faith, confidence, trust"), Old English lēof ("dear, valued, beloved, pleasant, agreeable"; > English lief). Related also to North Frisian leauwjen ("to believe"), West Frisian leauwe ("to believe"), Dutch geloven ("to believe"), German glauben ("to believe"), Gothic 𐌲𐌰𐌻𐌰𐌿𐌱𐌾𐌰𐌽 (galaubjan, "to hold dear, valuable, or satisfactory, approve of, believe"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • _ Yes, yes, _said the other_, I believe she is: _But I believe_, said I, _You but taak'n all this while, for no Body mun do such things.

    The London-Bawd: With Her Character and Life Discovering the Various and Subtle Intrigues of Lewd Women

  • Doubt strikes at the root of Justice and of Love -- not the doubt that is the half-brother to Disbelief, but the doubt which wonders always and always if we believe most easily what we _want to believe_, and if our firmest conviction against such Belief is not, more than anything else, yet one more manifestation of what we desire so earnestly _to doubt_.

    Over the Fireside with Silent Friends

  • And while we believe that such efforts are praiseworthy for the reason that many persons must be first convinced in that way, still we feel that one must really _feel_ the truth of the doctrine from something within his own consciousness, before he will really _believe_ it to be truth.

    A Series of Lessons in Gnani Yoga

  • "Though your lady excelled, as much as your diamond, _I could not believe she excelled many_; that is, I too _could_ yet _believe that there are_ many _whom_ she did not excel."

    Notes to Shakespeare, Volume III: The Tragedies

  • And, for anyone else who is reading this, I believe if you load entities without a PK: EntityLoad (myEntity, primaryKey) ... and no entity is returned, I * believe* that

    Fullasagoog

  • I'm not really sure debunking this stuff really accomplishes anything ... if someone wants to believe a candidate for president is a closet terrorist, that's * what they want to believe*, the rumors are just an excuse.

    Original Signal - Transmitting Buzz

  • _nobody_ would believe him, and who _could believe_ that in _a day_, almost without struggle, _all would be over_, and the past, the present, the future carried away on an unaccountable storm!

    The Letters of Queen Victoria, Vol 2 (of 3), 1844-1853 A Selection from her Majesty's correspondence between the years 1837 and 1861

  • Nice job Pete - you even managed to get John to mention his "Milton" which I believe is code for book collection, but I could be wrong.

    I Just Don't Get Poetry

  • In your descriptions of the personality of Moscow, you use the Russian word "naglost," which I believe translates as "an unseemly blend of arrogance and shamelessness."

    Scenes From Russian Life

  • In Japanese, a mechanical pencil is called a "sharpen," which the Japanese believe is short for "sharp pencil."

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Comments

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  • "Never believe anything until it's officially denied."
    - Margaret Atwood

    November 7, 2008

  • '"My thesis is this: I want you to believe."
    '"To believe what?"
    '"To believe in things you cannot."' -Dracula, by Bram Stoker

    February 21, 2008