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Belief vs. Believe: What's the Difference?

Edited by Harlon Moss || By Janet White || Published on November 19, 2023
Beliefis a conviction or acceptance that something is true. Believe is the action of accepting something as true.

Key Differences

Belief is a noun, signifying an acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists, often without full intellectual consent. In contrast, believe is a verb that describes the action of accepting the truth or existence of something, typically with confidence but without absolute proof.
Belief forms the basis of faith or trust in something or someone, often used in religious, philosophical, or cultural contexts. On the other hand, to believe actively engages the mind and heart, signifying the process of placing trust or confidence in entities, individuals, or concepts.
Belief, as a construct, shapes ideologies, forms the basis of cultural norms, and can influence behavior and thought processes. Conversely, to believe is to exercise cognitive function, requiring individuals to process information and choose to accept it as true.
Belief can exist independently within an individual, not necessarily requiring external affirmation. However, to believe often requires an object, an entity or proposition in which trust or confidence is placed.
Belief, once established, can be enduring and unchanging, forming part of an individual's core values. In contrast, to believe can be transitory, subject to change upon the introduction of new evidence or persuasion.

Comparison Chart

Part of Speech



An acceptance that something exists or is true, often without proof.
To accept the truth of something, often without proof.


Refers to the concept or idea held as true.
Describes the action of holding something as true.

Requires an Object?

No, can be independent.
Yes, needs an object to be directed at.


More constant, forms part of core values.
Can be transitory, changes with new information.

Belief and Believe Definitions


Trust or confidence in someone or something.
The child's belief in his teacher was absolute.


To accept something as true.
I believe every word of your story.


A firmly held opinion.
His belief that the earth is flat contradicted scientific consensus.


To hold something as an opinion.
She believes that it's going to rain tomorrow.


A religious conviction.
Her belief in the sacredness of all life shaped her choices.


To suppose or assume.
I believe the train leaves at noon.


An organized system of accepted views.
The belief systems of ancient cultures still fascinate historians.


To have confidence in the truth or value of something.
He believes in the importance of hard work.


The mental act, condition, or habit of placing trust or confidence in another
My belief in you is as strong as ever.


To have faith, especially religious faith.
They believe in a higher power guiding them.


Mental acceptance of and conviction in the truth, actuality, or validity of something
His explanation of what happened defies belief.


To accept (something) as true or real
Do you believe his version of what happened?.


Something believed or accepted as true, especially a particular tenet or a body of tenets accepted by a group of persons.


To consider (someone) to be truthful or accurate in what they are saying
I believe you when you say that your neighbor is angry.


Mental acceptance of a claim as true.
It's my belief that the thief is somebody known to us.


To expect or suppose; think
I believe it will snow tomorrow. I believe the letters to be authentic.


Faith or trust in the reality of something; often based upon one's own reasoning, trust in a claim, desire of actuality, and/or evidence considered.
My belief is that there is a bear in the woods. Bill said he saw one.
Based on this data, it is our belief that X does not occur.


To have religious faith
He believes in God.


(countable) Something believed.
The ancient people have a belief in many deities.


To have faith, confidence, or trust
I believe in your ability to solve the problem.


(uncountable) The quality or state of believing.
My belief that it will rain tomorrow is strong.


To consider something to be important, worthwhile, or valuable
I believe in free speech.


(uncountable) Religious faith.
She often said it was her belief that carried her through the hard times.


(transitive) To accept as true, particularly without absolute certainty (i.e., as opposed to knowing).
If you believe the numbers, you'll agree we need change.
I believe there are faeries.


(in the plural) One's religious or moral convictions.
I can't do that. It's against my beliefs.


(transitive) To accept that someone is telling the truth.
Why did I ever believe you?


Assent to a proposition or affirmation, or the acceptance of a fact, opinion, or assertion as real or true, without immediate personal knowledge; reliance upon word or testimony; partial or full assurance without positive knowledge or absolute certainty; persuasion; conviction; confidence; as, belief of a witness; the belief of our senses.
Belief admits of all degrees, from the slightest suspicion to the fullest assurance.


(intransitive) To have religious faith; to believe in a greater truth.
After that night in the church, I believed.


A persuasion of the truths of religion; faith.
No man can attain [to] belief by the bare contemplation of heaven and earth.


To opine, think, reckon.
Do you think this is good? —Hmm, I believe it's okay.


The thing believed; the object of belief.
Superstitious prophecies are not only the belief of fools, but the talk sometimes of wise men.


To exercise belief in; to credit upon the authority or testimony of another; to be persuaded of the truth of, upon evidence furnished by reasons, arguments, and deductions of the mind, or by circumstances other than personal knowledge; to regard or accept as true; to place confidence in; to think; to consider; as, to believe a person, a statement, or a doctrine.
Our conqueror (whom I nowOf force believe almighty).
King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets ?
Often followed by a dependent clause.I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.


A tenet, or the body of tenets, held by the advocates of any class of views; doctrine; creed.
In the heat of persecution to which Christian belief was subject upon its first promulgation.


To have a firm persuasion, esp. of the truths of religion; to have a persuasion approaching to certainty; to exercise belief or faith.
Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.
With the heart man believeth unto righteousness.


Any cognitive content held as true


To think; to suppose.
I will not believe so meanly of you.


A vague idea in which some confidence is placed;
His impression of her was favorable
What are your feelings about the crisis?
It strengthened my belief in his sincerity
I had a feeling that she was lying


Accept as true; take to be true;
I believed his report
We didn't believe his stories from the War
She believes in spirits


An acceptance that something exists or is true.
His belief in extraterrestrial life intrigued many.


Judge or regard; look upon; judge;
I think he is very smart
I believe her to be very smart
I think that he is her boyfriend
The racist conceives such people to be inferior


Be confident about something;
I believe that he will come back from the war


Follow a credo; have a faith; be a believer;
When you hear his sermons, you will be able to believe, too


Credit with veracity;
You cannot believe this man
Should we believe a publication like the National Inquirer?


Can beliefs be harmful?

Yes, certain beliefs can be harmful if they lead to destructive behavior.

Can beliefs change?

Yes, beliefs can evolve based on new experiences or information.

Does believing require action?

Not necessarily, but it often motivates action based on what one holds true.

Can everyone believe the same thing?

It's unlikely, as individuals have unique perspectives and experiences shaping what they believe.

Are belief and believe interchangeable?

No, belief is a noun, and believe is a verb, each with distinct uses.

Is evidence necessary to believe?

Not always, people often believe things based on faith or feelings.

Can belief exist without proof?

Yes, belief can exist without empirical evidence; this is common in faith-based contexts.

Can two opposing beliefs coexist?

In broader societies, yes, but it can be challenging within an individual.

Can believing be passive?

While believing is an active verb, one can hold passive beliefs not currently being reconsidered.

Is there a right or wrong in what one believes?

This is subjective and context-dependent, varying greatly among individuals.

Do you need to believe in something to understand it?

Understanding doesn't necessitate belief but can lead to or stem from it.

Are beliefs always conscious?

No, some beliefs, especially foundational or cultural ones, can be subconscious.

Can a belief be proved?

Some can be supported by evidence, but others, especially faith-based, are beyond empirical proof.

Can beliefs be imposed?

They can be influenced or pressured by external forces, but genuine belief requires personal acceptance.

Are beliefs always individual?

No, there are collective beliefs held by communities or societies.

Can you believe in something accidentally?

Believing typically involves some degree of intention, but it can be influenced by external factors.

Can belief be mistaken?

Yes, beliefs can be incorrect or based on misinformation.

Does everyone have beliefs?

Yes, whether explicit or implicit, everyone holds some form of beliefs.

Are some beliefs universal?

While not absolute, some beliefs, like basic moral principles, are widely shared.

Can what you believe in define you?

To a large extent, yes, as your beliefs can significantly influence your choices and behaviors.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

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