English

Definition of believe verb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

      

    believe

     verb
    verb
    BrE BrE//bɪˈliːv//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//bɪˈliːv//
     
    (not used in the progressive tenses)Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they believe
    BrE BrE//bɪˈliːv//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//bɪˈliːv//
     
    he / she / it believes
    BrE BrE//bɪˈliːvz//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//bɪˈliːvz//
     
    past simple believed
    BrE BrE//bɪˈliːvd//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//bɪˈliːvd//
     
    past participle believed
    BrE BrE//bɪˈliːvd//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//bɪˈliːvd//
     
    -ing form believing
    BrE BrE//bɪˈliːvɪŋ//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//bɪˈliːvɪŋ//
     
     
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    feel certain
  1. 1  [transitive] to feel certain that something is true or that somebody is telling you the truth believe somebody I don't believe you! The man claimed to be a social worker and the old woman believed him. Believe me, she's not right for you. believe something I believed his lies for years. I find that hard to believe. Don't believe a word of it (= don't believe any part of what somebody is saying). believe (that)… People used to believe (that) the earth was flat. He refused to believe (that) his son was involved in drugs. I do believe you’re right (= I think something is true, even though it is surprising).
  2. think possible
  3. 2  [intransitive, transitive] to think that something is true or possible, although you are not completely certain ‘Where does she come from?’ ‘Spain, I believe.’ ‘Does he still work there?’ ‘I believe so/not.’ believe (that)… Police believe (that) the man may be armed. it is believed (that)… It is believed that the couple have left the country. believe somebody/something to be, have, etc. something The vases are believed to be worth over $20 000 each. believe somebody/something + adj. Three sailors are missing, believed drowned. Synonymsthinkbelieve feel reckon be under the impressionThese words all mean to have an idea that something is true or possible or to have a particular opinion about somebody/​something.think to have an idea that something is true or possible, although you are not completely certain; to have a particular opinion about somebody/​something:Do you think (that) they’ll come? Well, I like it. What do you think?believe to have an idea that something is true or possible, although you are not completely certain; to have a particular opinion about somebody/​something:Police believe (that) the man may be armed.think or believe?When you are expressing an idea that you have or that somebody has of what is true or possible, believe is more formal than think. It is used especially for talking about ideas that other people have; think is used more often for talking about your own ideas:Police believe… I think… When you are expressing an opinion, believe is stronger than think and is used especially for matters of principle; think is used more for practical matters or matters of personal taste.feel to have a particular opinion about something that has happened or about what you/​somebody ought to do:We all felt (that) we were unlucky to lose.reckon (informal) to think that something is true or possible:I reckon (that) I’m going to get that job.be under the impression that… to have an idea that something is true:I was under the impression that the work had already been completed.Patterns to think/​believe/​feel/​reckon/​be under the impression that… It is thought/​believed/​reckoned that… to be thought/​believed/​felt/​reckoned to be something to think/​believe/​feel something about somebody/​something to sincerely/​honestly/​seriously/​mistakenly think/​believe/​feel
  4. have opinion
  5. 3  [transitive] believe (that)… to have the opinion that something is right or true The party believes (that) education is the most important issue facing the government. She believes that killing animals for food or fur is completely immoral. Language Bankaccording toReporting someone’s opinion Photography is, according to Vidal, the art form of untalented people. For Vidal, photography is the art form of untalented people. His view is that photography is not art but merely the mechanical reproduction of images. Smith takes the view that photography is both an art and a science. In Brown’s view, photography should be treated as a legitimate art in its own right. James is of the opinion that a good painter can always be a good photographer if he or she so decides. Emerson believed that a photograph should only reflect what the human eye can see. Language BankopinionGiving your personal opinion In my opinion, everyone should have some understanding of science. Everyone should, in my opinion, have some understanding of science. It seems to me that many people in this country have a poor understanding of science. This is, in my view, the result of a failure of the scientific community to get its message across. Another reason why so many people have such a poor understanding of science is, I believe, the lack of adequate funding for science in schools. Smith argues that science is separate from culture. My own view is that science belongs with literature, art, philosophy and religion as an integral part of our culture. In this writer’s opinion, the more the public know about science, the less they will fear and distrust it.
  6. be surprised/annoyed
  7. 4  [transitive] don’t/can’t believe used to say that you are surprised or annoyed at something believe (that)… She couldn’t believe (that) it was all happening again. I don't believe I'm doing this! believe how, what, etc… I can't believe how much better I feel.
  8. religion
  9. 5[intransitive] to have a religious faith The god appears only to those who believe.
  10. Word Origin late Old English belȳfan, belēfan, alteration of gelēfan, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch geloven and German glauben.Extra examples I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I didn’t believe a word of what he said. I personally believe that it’s important. I’m inclined to believe you. I’ve long believed that a good reputation is the most valuable asset you can have in business. It’s hard to believe that this campaign has been going on for ten years. No one seriously believes that this war will happen. Paul thinks he’s happy, but his mother believes otherwise. The ad led us to believe that all prices had been cut. The boss gave me to believe that we would all get a pay rise. We have reason to believe that the escaped prisoner may be hiding in this house. ‘Does he still work there?’ ‘I believe so/​not.’ ‘Where does she come from?’ ‘Spain, I believe.’ Believe me, she’s not right for you. Don’t believe a word of it. He refuses to believe his son was involved with drugs. I believe that we have a responsibility towards the less fortunate in society. I don’t believe you! I find that very hard to believe. It was generally believed that evil spirits lived in the forest. No one seriously believed that the war would happen. People used to believe that the earth was flat. Police believe… She believes that killing animals for food or fur is completely immoral. The paintings are believed to be worth over $20 000 each. We believe (that) education is the most important issue facing the government.Idioms (informal) used to introduce information that is true but that may surprise people Believe it or not, he asked me to marry him! See related entries: Surprise (informal) used to emphasize that you strongly believe what you are saying You haven't heard the last of this, believe you me!
    don’t you believe it!
     
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    (informal) used to tell somebody that something is definitely not true ‘She wouldn’t do a thing like that.’ ‘Don’t you believe it!’
    give somebody to believe/understand (that)…
     
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    [often passive] (formal) to make somebody believe/understand something I was given to understand that she had resigned.
    (informal) used to say that you are surprised or annoyed about something I don't believe it! What are you doing here?
    if you believe that, you’ll believe anything
     
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    (informal) used to say that you think somebody is stupid if they believe that something is true ‘He promised not to do it again.’ ‘Sure, and if you believe that, you’ll believe anything.’
    to pretend that something is true related noun make-believe
    not believe your ears/eyes
     
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    (informal) to be very surprised at something you hear/see I couldn't believe my eyes when she walked in.
    (saying) used to say that somebody will have to believe that something is true when they see it, although they do not think it is true now
    would you believe (it)?
     
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    (informal) used to show that you are surprised and annoyed about something And, would you believe, he didn't even apologize!
    you/you’d better believe it!
     
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    (informal) used to tell somebody that something is definitely true ‘He’s not a bad player, is he?’ ‘You’d better believe it!’
    Phrasal Verbsbelieve in somebodybelieve in somebodybelieve in somethingbelieve something of somebody
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: believe