Word:  Believe.

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1828)

Believe, verb transitive.

  1. To credit upon the authority or testimony of another; to be persuaded of the truth of something upon the declaration of another, or upon evidence furnished by reasons, arguments, and deductions of the mind, or by other circumstances, than personal knowledge.
    • When we believe upon the authority of another, we always put confidence in his veracity.
    • When we believe upon the authority of reasoning, arguments, or a concurrence of facts and circumstances, we rest our conclusions upon their strength or probability, their agreement with our own experience, &c.
  2. To expect or hope with confidence; to trust.
    • I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. (Ps. 27)

Believe, verb intransitive.

  1. To have a firm persuasion of any thing. In some cases, to have full persuasion, approaching to certainty; in others, more doubt is implied. It is often followed by in or on, especially in the scriptures.
    • To believe in, is to hold as the object of faith.
      • Ye believe in God, believe also in me. (John 14)
    • To believe on, is to trust, to place full confidence in, to rest upon with faith.
      • To them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name. (John 1)
    • But there is no ground for much distinction.
  2. In theology, to believe sometimes expresses a mere assent of the understanding to the truths of the gospel.
    • As in the case of Simon. (Acts 8)
    • In others, the word implies, with this assent of the mind, a yielding of the will and affections, accompanied with a humble reliance on Christ for salvation. (John 1:12; 3:15)
  3. In popular use and familiar discourse, to believe often expresses an opinion in a vague manner, without a very exact estimate of evidence, noting a mere preponderance of opinion, and is nearly equivalent to think or suppose.

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)

Imp. and p.p. Believed; and vb.n. Believing.

Origin:  OE. bileven (with pref. be- for AS. ge-), fr. AS. gelfan, gelfan; akin to D. gelooven, OHG. gilouban, G. glauben, OS. gilbian, Goth. galaubjan, and Goth. liubs dear.

Be-lieve, verb transitive.

  1. 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; as, to believe a person, a statement, or a doctrine.
    • Our conqueror (whom I now Of force believe almighty). (Milton)
    • King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? (Acts 26:7)
    • Often followed by a dependent clause. I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Acts 8:37)

Be-lieve, verb intransitive.

  1. To have a firm persuasion, esp. of the truths of religion; to have a persuasion approaching to certainty; to exercise belief or faith.
    • Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief. (Mark 9:24)
    • With the heart man believeth unto righteousness. (Rom. 10:10)
  2. To think; to suppose.
    • I will not believe so meanly of you. (Fielding)

To believe in.

  1. To believe that the subject of the thought (if a person or thing) exists, or (if an event) that it has occurred, or will occur; -- as, to believe in the resurrection of the dead.
    • She does not believe in Jupiter. (J.H. Newman)
  2. To believe that the character, abilities, and purposes of a person are worthy of entire confidence; -- especially that his promises are wholly trustworthy.
    • Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. (John 14:1)
  3. To believe that the qualities or effects of an action or state are beneficial: as, to believe in sea bathing, or in abstinence from alcoholic beverages.
  4. To believe on, to accept implicitly as an object of religious trust or obedience; to have faith in.
Word:  Faith.

Webster's Universal Dictionary (1937)

Origin: Middle English faith, feith; Old French feid; Latin fides, faith, belief, trust, from fidere, to trust, confide in.


  1. The assent of the mind to the truth of what is declared by another, resting on his authority and veracity, without other evidence, or on probable evidence of any kind; assent of the mind to a statement or proposition of another, on the ground of the manifest truth of such statement or proposition; firm and earnest belief, on probable evidence of any kind; as, I have strong faith, or no faith, in the testimony of a witness.
  2. The assent of the mind to what is given forth as a revelation of man's relation to God and the infinite; a settled conviction in regard to religion; specifically, in Christian theology,
    1. Belief in the historic truthfulness of the Scripture narrative and the supernatural origin of its teaching; also called historical or speculative faith.
    2. The assent of the mind to the truth of divine revelation, on the authority of God's testimony, accompanied by a cordial assent of the will or approbation of the heart; an entire confidence or trust in God's character and declarations, and in the character and doctrines of Christ, with an unreserved surrender of the will to his guidance, and dependence on his merits for salvation; also called evangelical, justifying, or saving faith.
  3. The object of belief; a doctrine or system of doctrines believed, whether scientific, political, or religious; especially, a creed; a religious system; specifically, the Christian religion.
  4. Faithfulness; fidelity; a strict adherence to duty and fulfilment of promises.
  5. Word or honor pledged; promise given; fidelity; as, violated his plighted faith.
  6. Credibility or truth [Rare.]

Syn: Belief, trust, confidence, credence, fidelity, conviction, creed, tenets, doctrine, opinion.

Wolfram Alpha


  1. Accept as true; take to be true.
  2. Judge or regard; look upon; judge.
  3. Be confident about something.
  4. Follow a credo; have a faith; be a believer.
  5. Credit with veracity.

Pronunciation: buhl'eev.

Hyphenation: be-lieve (7 letters, 2 syllables).

First Known Use in English: 1549 (European Renaissance).

Word Origins: Old English.

Inflected Forms: Believed, believing, believes.

Synonyms: Conceive, consider, think, trust.

Antonym: Disbelieve.

Narrower Terms: Bank, believe, believe in, buy, infer, rely, swallow, swear, trust, understand, consider, esteem, feel, hold, look on.

Broader Terms: Accept, evaluate, judge, pass judgment, anticipate, expect, believe, credit

Rhymes: Achieve, aggrieve, bereave, cleave, conceive, deceive, disbelieve, greave, grieve, heave, interleave, interweave, leave, misconceive, misperceive. achieve | aggrieve | bereave | cleave | conceive | deceive | disbelieve | greave | grieve | heave | interleave | interweave | leave | misconceive | misperceive | ... (total: 29) (based on typical American pronunciation)

Oxford English Dictionary

  1. Accept that (something) is true, especially without proof:
    • The superintendent believed Lancaster's story.
    • Some 23 per cent believe that smoking keeps down weight.
    • His long-suffering wife, Nora, faces an everyday struggle to find money for food and other essentials.
    1. Accept the statement of (someone) as true:
      • He didn't believe her.
      • Many local people believed him when he spoke of the right or wrong siting of houses or tombs.
    2. Have religious faith:
      • There are those on the fringes of the Church who do not really believe.
      • Was it lifted up whole and intact to heaven, as the Catholic faith believes?
    3. (Believe something of) Feel sure that (someone) is capable of doing something:
      • I wouldn’t have believed it of Lavinia--what an extraordinary woman!
      • I couldn't believe it of him because he had behaved so normally at home.
  2. Hold (something) as an opinion; think:
    • I believe we've already met.
    • (Believe someone/thing to be) Four men were believed to be trapped.
Origin: Late Old English belyfan, belefan, alteration of gelefan, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch geloven and German glauben, also to lief.


  1. I don't believe you.
    • Be convinced by, trust, have confidence in, consider honest, consider truthful.
  2. If you believe that story you will believe anything.
    • 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.
    • (Informal) Swallow, {swallow something hook, line, and sinker}, fall for, go for, buy, take as gospel.
  3. Police believe they've identified the smuggler. I believe he worked for you.
    • 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; understand, be given to understand, take it, gather, fancy, guess, dare say.
    • (North American) Figure.

Antonym: Disbelieve.

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Full Texts of Selected References

Prov. 14:15--The simple (Akakos) believes (pistEUei) every word (panTI LOgo-): but the prudent man (panOURgos) betakes himself to after-thought (meTAnoian). (BLXX)
Alt.:--The innocent believes every word, but the smart comes to a change of mind. (NETS)
Alt.:--the prudent man looketh well to his going. (RV)
Alt.:--The inexperienced one believes anything, but the sensible one watches his steps. (HCSB)
Alt.:--The thoughtless (JPS17)
Alt.:--An unthinking person believes everything (ISV)
Alt.:--Only a simpleton believes everything he's told! A prudent man understands the need for proof. (LB)
Alt.:--The gullible believe anything they're told; the prudent sift and weigh every word. (Mes)

Prov. 26:25--When he (your enemy) speaks kindly, do not (me-) believe (peisTHE-S) him,
For there are seven abominations in his heart; (NKJV)
Alt.:--When he speaks warmly to you, don't believe him for a minute; he's just waiting for the chance to rip you off. (Mes)
Alt.:--What they say sounds good, but don't trust them. They are full of evil ideas. (ERV)
Alt.:--Though [thine] enemy intreat thee with a loud voice, consent not: for there are seven abominations in his heart. (BLXX)
Alt.:--They pretend to be kind, but don't believe them. Their hearts are full of many evils. (NLT)

Habakkuk 1:5--Behold, ye despisers, and look, and wonder marvellously (thauMAsate thauMAsia), and vanish: for I work a work in your days, which ye will in no wise believe (ho ou me- pistEUse-te), though a man declare it to you. (BLXX)
“Look among the nations and watch --
Be utterly astounded!
For I will work a work in your days
Which you would not believe, though it were told you. (NKJV)
For a work He is working in your days,
Ye do not believe though it is declared. (YLT)
Alt.:--I will do something in your lifetime that you won’t believe even when you are told about it. (NCV)
“Look around at the godless nations.
Look long and hard. Brace yourself for a shock.
Something’s about to take place
and you’re going to find it hard to believe. (Mes)
Alt.:--... a work you will never believe even if someone tells you plainly! (Voice)

Mat. 9:28--When he had gone indoors, the blind men came to him, and he asked them, “Do you believe (pisTEUete) that I am able to do this?” “Yes, Lord,” they replied. (NIV)
Alt.:--And when he came into the house, the blind men came to him; and Jesus said to them [Soothly when he had come into the house, the blind men came to him; and Jesus saith to them], What will ye, that I do to you? And they said, Lord, that our eyes be opened. And Jesus said, Believe ye, that I may do this thing to you [And Jesus said, Believe ye, that I may do this thing]? They said to him, Yea, Lord. (Wyc)
Alt.:--“Do you believe that I can make you see again (EXB)
Alt.:--“Do you really believe I can do this?” They said, “Why, yes, Master!” (Mes)

Mark 11:22-23--"Have faith (PIStin) in God," Jesus answered.  23  "I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and does not doubt (diakriTHE-) in his heart but believes (pisTEUse-) that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. (NIV)
Alt.:--but has faith that what he says will come about, he will have his desire. (BBE)
Alt.:--"Have the faith of God. ... and who will not have hesitated in his heart, but will have believed ..." (CPDV)

John 9:18--The Jews therefore did not believe (ouk ePISteusan) concerning him, that he had been blind, and had received his sight, until they called the parents of him who had received his sight (WEB)
Alt.:--Now the Jews had no belief in the statement that ... (BBE)
Alt.:--Then the Iewes did not beleeue him (that he had bene blinde, and receiued his sight) vntill ... (Geneva)
Alt.:--But the Iewes dyd not beleve of the felowe how that he was blynde and receaved his syght vntyll they had called the father and mother of him that had receaved his syght. (Tyn)
Alt.:--The Jewish leaders ... (NHEB)
Alt.:--Now the Jewish religious leaders refused to believe that he had really been blind (NET)

Rom. 14:2--One believes (pisTEUei) he may eat anything, while the weak man eats only vegetables.  3  Let not him who eats despise (exoutheNEIto-) him who abstains, and let not him who abstains pass judgment on (kriNEto-) him who eats; for God has welcomed him. (RSV)
Alt.:--One man's faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables.  3  The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him. (NIV)
Alt.:--but if another is weak, let him eat plants. (CPDV)
Alt.:--One person believes in eating everything, but the weak person eats only vegetables. (NET)
Alt.:--One man has faith to eat all things (NHEB)
Alt.:--One man has faith to take all things as food: another who is feeble in faith takes only green food. (BBE)

Rom. 15:13--May the God of hope (elPIdos) fill you with all joy (charAS) and peace (eiRE-ne-s) as you trust in him (en to- pistEUein), so that you may overflow with hope (elPIdi) by the power of the Holy Spirit. (NIV)
Alt.:--all joy and peace in believing [through the experience of your faith] ... and be overflowing (bubbling over) with hope. (AMP)
Alt.:--May God, the source of hope, fill you completely with joy and shalom as you continue trusting (CJB)
Alt.:--Oh! May the God of green hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope! (Mes)
Alt.:--May the God of hope fill you with joy and peace in your faith, that by the power of the Holy Spirit, your whole life and outlook may be radiant with hope. (Phillips)

1 John 4:1--My dear friends (agape-TOI), don’t believe (pisTEUete) everything (panTI) you hear. Carefully weigh and examine what people tell you. Not everyone who talks about God comes from God. There are a lot of lying preachers loose in the world. (Mes)
Alt.:--Beloved, believe not every spirit, but prove the spirits, if they are of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world. (Darby)
Alt.:--do not put faith in every spirit, but prove (test) the spirits to discover whether they proceed from God; (AMP)
Alt.:--don’t believe all people who say that they have the Spirit. Instead, test them. (GWT)
Alt.:--don’t trust every spirit. (CJB)
Alt.:--do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit (NLT)

1 John 4:16--So we know and believe (pepiSTEUkamen) the love (aGApe-n) God has for us. God is love (aGApe-), and he who abides (ho MEno-n) in love (aGApe-) abides (MEnei) in God, and God abides (MEnei) in him. (RSV)
Alt.:--So we have come to know and trust the love God has for us. God is love, and the man whose life is lived in love does, in fact, live in God, and God does, in fact, live in him. (Phillips)
Alt.:--And we have seen and had faith in the love which God has for us. (BBE)
Alt.:--We have come to know and rely on the love that God has for us. (ISV)
Alt.:--to believe the love that God has in us. (NET)
Alt.:--And we han knowun, and bileuen to the charite, that God hath in vs. God is charite, and he that dwellith in charite, dwellith in God, and God in hym. (Wyc)

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Other Ancient Sources
Clement of Alexandria (c. 150-c. 215 AD)--Faith is a voluntary anticipation, the assent of piety. However, the Greeks disparage faith, considering it futile and barbarous.

Faith is something superior to knowledge and is its criterion. Conjecture, which is only a feeble supposition, is a counterfeit faith.

Now he is faithful who keeps inviolably what is entrusted to him.

We have discovered faith to be the first movement towards salvation. After faith, fear, hope, and repentance (accompanied by temperance and patience) lead us to love and knowledge.

We say, then, that faith must not be inert and alone. Rather, it should be accompanied with investigation. For I do not say that we are not to inquire at all.

Trusting is more than faith. For when one has believed that the Son of God is our Teacher, he trusts that His teaching is true.

Faith, so to speak, is a comprehensive knowledge of the essentials. And knowledge is the strong and sure demonstration of what is received by faith. It is built upon faith by the Lord's teaching.

In my opinion, the faith they possessed was firm, for it was followed by works of faith.

Origen (184/185-253/254)--Who enters on a voyage, contracts a marriage, becomes the father of children, or sows seed into the ground--without believing that better things will result from doing so? ... If the hope and belief of a better future is the support of life in every uncertain enterprise, ... why should not this faith rather be rationally accepted by him who believes on better grounds ... in the existence of a God who was the Creator of all these things?

Cyprian (c. 200-258)--[WRITTEN TO CHRISTIANS FACING MARTYRDOM:] It is written that the just live by faith. If you are just and live by faith--if you truly believe in Christ--why do you not embrace the assurance that you are called to Christ? Why do you not rejoice that you are freed from the devil? For you are about to be with Christ and are secure of the Lord's promise.

St. John Chrysostom (347-407)--"Believeth all things." "For it doth not merely hope," saith he, "but also believeth from its great affection."

Augustine (354-430)--Since faith, then, is in our power, inasmuch as every one believes when he likes, and, when he believes, believes voluntarily; our next inquiry, which we must conduct with care, is, What faith it is which the apostle commends with so much earnestness? For indiscriminate faith is not good. Accordingly we find this caution: “Brethren, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God.” Nor must the clause in commendation of love, that it “believeth all things,” be so understood as if we should detract from the love of any one, if he refuses to believe at once what he hears. For the same love admonishes us that we ought not readily to believe anything evil about a brother; and when anything of the kind is said of him, does it not judge it to be more suitable to its character not to believe? Lastly, the same love, “which believeth all things,” does not believe every spirit. Accordingly, charity believes all things no doubt, but it believes in God. Observe, it is not said, Believes in all things. It cannot therefore be doubted that the faith which is commended by the apostle is the faith whereby we believe in God.

Augustine--What then have I to do with men, that they should hear my confessions—as if they could heal all my infirmities—a race, curious to know the lives of others, slothful to amend their own? Why seek they to hear from me what I am; who will not hear from Thee what themselves are? And how know they, when from myself they hear of myself, whether I say true; seeing no man knows what is in man, but the spirit of man which is in him? But if they hear from Thee of themselves, they cannot say, “The Lord lieth.” For what is it to hear from Thee of themselves, but to know themselves? and who knoweth and saith, “It is false,” unless himself lieth? But because charity believeth all things (that is, among those whom knitting unto itself it maketh one), I also, O Lord, will in such wise confess unto Thee, that men may hear, to whom I cannot demonstrate whether I confess truly; yet they believe me, whose ears charity openeth unto me.

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