Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary

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2 entries found for belief.
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Main Entry: be·lief
Pronunciation: b&-'lEf
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English beleave, probably alteration of Old English gelEafa, from ge-, associative prefix + lEafa; akin to Old English lyfan -- more at BELIEVE
Date: 12th century
1 : a state or habit of mind in which trust or confidence is placed in some person or thing
2 : something believed; especially : a tenet or body of tenets held by a group
3 : conviction of the truth of some statement or the reality of some being or phenomenon especially when based on examination of evidence
synonyms BELIEF, FAITH, CREDENCE, CREDIT mean assent to the truth of something offered for acceptance. BELIEF may or may not imply certitude in the believer <my belief that I had caught all the errors>. FAITH almost always implies certitude even where there is no evidence or proof <an unshakable faith in God>. CREDENCE suggests intellectual assent without implying anything about grounds for assent <a theory now given credence by scientists>. CREDIT may imply assent on grounds other than direct proof <gave full credit to the statement of a reputable witness>. synonym see in addition OPINION