Language: Old English
Origin: belefan, from lyfan, lefan 'to allow, believe'


Related topics: Religion
be‧lieve S1 W1
1 [transitive not in progressive] 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 [transitive not in progressive] to think that something is true or possible, although you are not completely sure
believe (that)
Detectives believe that the victim knew his killer.
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.

it's difficult/hard to believe (that)

used when you are surprised that something is true:
Sometimes, it's hard to believe we've been married for 50 years.
4 spoken

can't/don't believe something

used when you are very surprised or shocked by something:
I can't believe he's expecting us to work on Sunday!
I couldn't believe it when he told me what had happened.
can hardly/scarcely believe something
I could scarcely believe my luck.
5 spoken

believe it or not

used when you are saying something that is true but surprising:
He enjoys school, believe it or not.
6 spoken

would you believe it!

or I don't believe it! used when you are surprised or angry about something:
And then he just walked out. Would you believe it!
7 spoken

believe (you) me

used to emphasize that something is definitely true:
There'll be trouble when they find out about this, believe you me!
8 spoken

you'd better believe it!

used to emphasize that something is true
9 spoken

don't you believe it!

used to emphasize that something is definitely not true
10 spoken

can't believe your eyes/ears

used to say that someone is very surprised by something they see or hear
11 spoken

if you believe that, you'll believe anything

used to say that something is definitely not true, and that anyone who believes it must be stupid
12 spoken

seeing is believing


I'll believe it when I see it

used to say that you will only believe that something happens or exists when you actually see it
13 [intransitive]RR to have a religious faith:
She says those who believe will go to heaven.

➔ make believe

at make1 (19)

believe in somebody/something

phrasal verb
1 to be sure that someone or something exists:
Do you believe in God?
2 to think that something is effective or right:
I don't believe in these diets.
believe in doing something
The school believes in letting children learn at their own pace.
3 to trust someone and be confident that they will be successful:
The people want a President they can believe in.
Believe in yourself, or you'll never succeed.

believe, believe in
If you believe something, you think it is true. If you believe someone, you think they are telling the truth Nobody believed what I said. I didn't do it - you've got to believe me! Use believe in to mean that you think something exists Do you believe in God? that you think that something is good He doesn't believe in private education. that you think someone is good and will achieve good things My mother always believed in me.

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