Definitions

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

  • n. Acceptance as true or valid; belief. See Synonyms at belief.
  • n. Claim to acceptance; trustworthiness.
  • n. Recommendation; credentials: a letter of credence.
  • n. A small table or shelf for holding the bread, wine, and vessels of the Eucharist when they are not in use at the altar.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Acceptance of a belief or claim as true, especially on the basis of evidence.
  • n. Credential or supporting material for a person or claim.
  • n. A small table or credenza used in certain Christian religious services.
  • v. To give credence to; to believe.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Reliance of the mind on evidence of facts derived from other sources than personal knowledge; belief; credit; confidence.
  • n. That which gives a claim to credit, belief, or confidence.
  • n. The small table by the side of the altar or communion table, on which the bread and wine are placed before being consecrated.
  • n. A cupboard, sideboard, or cabinet, particularly one intended for the display of rich vessels or plate, and consisting chiefly of open shelves for that purpose.
  • transitive v. To give credence to; to believe.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Belief; credit; reliance of the mind on evidence of facts derived from other sources than personal knowledge, as from the testimony of others.
  • n. That which gives a claim to credit, belief, or confidence; credentials: now used only in the phrase letter of credence (a paper intended to commend the bearer to the confidence of a third person).
  • n. Some act or process of testing the nature or character of food before serving it, as a precaution against poison, formerly practised in royal or noble households.
  • n. In medieval times, a side-table or side-board on which the food was placed to be tasted before serving; hence, in later use, a cupboard or cabinet for the display of plate, etc.
  • n. Eccles., in the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches, a small table, slab, or shelf against the wall of the sanctuary or chancel, near the epistle side of the altar (on the right of one facing it).
  • To give credence to; believe.

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

  • n. a kind of sideboard or buffet
  • n. the mental attitude that something is believable and should be accepted as true

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French, from Medieval Latin crēdentia, from Latin crēdēns, crēdent-, present participle of crēdere, to believe; see kerd- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French credence, from Medieval Latin crēdentia ("belief, faith"), from Latin crēdēns, present active participle of crēdō ("loan, confide in, trust, believe"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

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