From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishbelievebe‧lieve /bəˈliːv/ ●●● S1 W1 verb 🔊 🔊 1 BE SURE something IS TRUE[transitive]BELIEVE to be sure that something is true or that someone is telling the truth 🔊 You shouldn’t believe everything you read. 🔊 I believed him, even though his story sounded unlikely.believe (that) 🔊 I don’t believe he’s only 25. 🔊 I don’t believe a word of it (=I think it is completely untrue).2 HAVE AN OPINION[transitive]BELIEVE to think that something is true or possible, although you are not completely surebelieve (that) 🔊 Detectives believe that the victim knew his killer.it is believed (that) 🔊 It is believed that the house was built in 1735.believe so (=think that something is true) 🔊 ‘Have they arrived yet?’ ‘Yes, I believe so.’be believed to be something 🔊 At 115, Mrs Jackson is believed to be the oldest person in the country. 🔊 The four men are widely believed (=believed by a lot of people) to have been killed by their captors. 🔊 Did you honestly believe that I’d be stupid enough to do that? 🔊 I firmly believe that the business will be a success.► see thesaurus at think3 → it’s difficult/hard to believe (that)4 → can’t/don’t believe something5 → believe it or not6 → would you believe it!7 → believe (you) me8 → you’d better believe it!9 → don’t you believe it!10 → can’t believe your eyes/ears11 → if you believe that, you’ll believe anything12 → seeing is believing13 RELIGION[intransitive]RRRELIGION to have a religious faith 🔊 She says those who believe will go to heaven. → make believe at make1(19)GrammarPatterns with believe• You believe that something is true: We believe that all men are equal.• You believe that something should happen: We believe all men should be treated equally.• You believe that someone can do something: I still believe that we can win. • You believe that something might or could happen: Do you believe that things might change?• In more formal English, you can say it is believed that: It was believed that the King’s touch could cure diseases.• In all the above patterns with that, ‘that’ can be omitted: We believe all men are equal.• You can use the phrases I believe so or I don’t believe so, usually to give a short answer: ‘Are they married?’ ‘I believe so.’‘Were there any problems?’ ‘I don’t believe so.’ ✗Don’t say: I believe it.Using the progressiveBelieve is not used in the progressive. You say: I believe you. ✗Don’t say: I am believing you.THESAURUSto believe somethingbelieve to be sure that something is true or that someone is telling the truthI believed her when she said that she loved me.Don’t believe anything he tells you.accept to believe that something is true, especially because someone has persuaded you to believe itHis wife accepted his explanation for why he was late.Leah had slowly come to accept her brother’s version of events.take somebody’s word for it especially spoken to believe what someone says is true, even though you have no proof or experience of itI don’t know anything about him, so I’ll just have to take your word for it.You don’t have to take my word for it – go and see for yourself.‘Cakes are very easy to make.’ ‘I’ll take your word for it.’give somebody the benefit of the doubt to believe what someone says, even though you think it might not be trueUnless you have proof, you should give him the benefit of the doubt.to believe something that is untruebe taken in (also fall for something informal) to be tricked into believing something that is not trueA lot of people were taken in by these claims.I can’t believe she fell for that old excuse!swallow informal to believe a story or explanation that is not true, especially when this makes you seem sillyHis aunt had swallowed his story unquestioningly.Police refused to swallow his story, and put him in a cell. → believe in somebody/something→ See Verb table
Examples from the Corpusbelieve• Students weren't sure who to believe.• I had always believed Catherine to be absolutely honest in money matters.• You can't believe everything you read in the papers.• Well, he was not what Shula believed him to be.• Did the police believe his story?• We believe human rights are more important than economic considerations.• I asked them for a $10,000 loan, and believe it or not they said yes.• I told them I didn't do it, but no one believed me.• The party believes strongly that health care should be provided for everyone.• Both sides firmly believe that a peace settlement is now possible.• Some experts believe that adrenaline provides the body with the extra boost it needs to make up for lost sleep.• Labour still believes that it has a better story about its own plans for improving public services than the Tories.• Police believe that the money was stolen by a gang of youths.• People used to believe that the sun moved around the earth.• I firmly believe that we are responsible for what happens to us in our lives.• The suit was settled last month, days before former Crypto engineers were to testify that they believed the machines were altered.• Disney executives believe the porcelain models will become another lucrative spin off for their cartoon empire.• But people like Shakiri do not believe there can be a peaceful solution to the crisis.• Only those who believe will go to heaven.believe (that)• We believe a much better understanding of the environmental implications of using secondary aggregates is urgently required.• And as in folk medicine generally, if you believe it will help, it probably will.• Harald died three months later, I believe of a broken heart.• I believe that I should be receiving a refund.• I can't believe that Rosen was offended.• A: I do believe that.• But one look at the line and it is obvious that few actually believe the ascent could be that hard.• The Department of Transport believes the warm weather encourages more drink-driving ... with horrifying results.• But adults say they believe there are tastier burgers elsewhere, a disturbing fact when Census Bureau trends show an aging population.• Yet he avoids shows of emotion and personal feeling because he believes they are destructive.believe (that)• We believe a much better understanding of the environmental implications of using secondary aggregates is urgently required.• And as in folk medicine generally, if you believe it will help, it probably will.• Harald died three months later, I believe of a broken heart.• A: I do believe that.• But one look at the line and it is obvious that few actually believe the ascent could be that hard.• The Department of Transport believes the warm weather encourages more drink-driving ... with horrifying results.• But adults say they believe there are tastier burgers elsewhere, a disturbing fact when Census Bureau trends show an aging population.• Yet he avoids shows of emotion and personal feeling because he believes they are destructive.