v. be·lieved, be·liev·ing, be·lieves
1. To accept (something) as true or real: Do you believe his version of what happened?
2. To consider (someone) to be truthful or accurate in what they are saying: I believe you when you say that your neighbor is angry.
3. To expect or suppose; think: I believe it will snow tomorrow. I believe the letters to be authentic.
1. To have religious faith: He believes in God.
2. To have faith, confidence, or trust: I believe in your ability to solve the problem.
3. To consider something to be important, worthwhile, or valuable: I believe in free speech.
believe (one's) ears
To trust what one has heard.
believe (one's) eyes
To trust what one has seen.
[Middle English bileven, from Old English belȳfan, belēfan, gelēfan; see leubh- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.