(1)   Accept as true; take to be true
"I believed his report"
"We didn't believe his stories from the War"
"She believes in spirits"
(2)   Credit with veracity
"You cannot believe this man"
"Should we believe a publication like the National Enquirer?"
(3)   Follow a credo; have a faith; be a believer
"When you hear his sermons, you will be able to believe, too"
(4)   Judge or regard; look upon; judge
"I think he is very smart"
"I believe her to be very smart"
"I think that he is her boyfriend"
"The racist conceives such people to be inferior"
(5)   Be confident about something
"I believe that he will come back from the war"


From / + a short form of , (leafa).


  1. To accept that someone is telling the truth.
    • Why did I ever believe you?
  2. To accept as true.
    • If you believe the numbers, you'll agree we need change.
  3. To consider likely.
    • I believe it might rain tomorrow.(This definition is the same as "to accept as true", but for a likely event "might rain tomorrow").
  4. To have religious faith; to believe in a greater truth.
    • After that night in the church, I believed.{This definition should be disregarded as it is the same as the transitive "to accept as true"}.

Usage notes

  • The transitive verb believe and the phrasal verb believe in are similar but can have very different implications.
    • To “believe” someone or something means to accept specific pieces of information as truth: believe the news, believe the lead witness. To “believe a complete stranger” means to accept a stranger's story with little evidence.
    • To “believe in” someone or something means to place faith in that person or concept: believe in liberty, believe in God. To “believe in one's fellow man” means to place faith in mankind.
  • Meanings sometimes overlap. To believe in a religious text would also require affirming at least the major principles. To believe a religious text might likewise imply placing one's faith in it, in addition to accepting its statements as facts.


  • 1611King James Version of the Bible, Luke 1:1
    Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us...