belief

A belief is an idea one accepts as being true or real. Many children have a strong belief that the Tooth Fairy really does exist.

The noun belief replaced the Old English word geleafa, meaning “belief, faith,” in the late 12th century. A belief is an idea one usually holds with conviction and importance. In a religious context, the Ancient Greeks held the belief that many gods existed, controlling their fate, while Christianity began with the belief that only one God exists. You can also have belief in yourself in the face of a challenge.

Definitions of belief
  1. noun
    any cognitive content held as true
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    Antonyms:
    disbelief, unbelief
    a rejection of belief
    types:
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    article of faith, conviction, strong belief
    an unshakable belief in something without need for proof or evidence
    faith, trust
    complete confidence in a person or plan, etc.
    doctrine, ism, philosophical system, philosophy, school of thought
    a belief (or system of beliefs) accepted as authoritative by some group or school
    philosophy
    any personal belief about how to live or how to deal with a situation
    expectation, outlook, prospect
    belief about (or mental picture of) the future
    fetichism, fetishism
    a belief in the magical power of fetishes (or the worship of a fetish)
    geneticism
    the belief that all human characteristics are determined genetically
    meliorism
    the belief that the world can be made better by human effort
    opinion, persuasion, reckoning, sentiment, thought, view
    a personal belief or judgment that is not founded on proof or certainty
    autotelism
    belief that a work of art is an end in itself or its own justification
    originalism
    the belief that the United States Constitution should be interpreted in the way the authors originally intended it
    pacificism, pacifism
    the belief that all international disputes can be settled by arbitration
    faith, religion, religious belief
    a strong belief in a supernatural power or powers that control human destiny
    opinion, popular opinion, public opinion, vox populi
    a belief or sentiment shared by most people; the voice of the people
    revolutionism
    a belief in the spread of revolutionary principles
    sacerdotalism
    a belief that priests can act as mediators between human beings and God
    spiritualism
    the belief that the spirits of dead people can communicate with people who are still alive (especially via a medium)
    spiritual domain, spiritual world, unseen
    a belief that there is a realm controlled by a divine spirit
    suffragism
    the belief that the right to vote should be extended (as to women)
    supernaturalism
    a belief in forces beyond ordinary human understanding
    superstition, superstitious notion
    an irrational belief arising from ignorance or fear
    supremacism
    the belief that some particular group or race is superior to all others
    theory
    a belief that can guide behavior
    theosophism
    belief in theosophy
    thought
    the organized beliefs of a period or group or individual
    totemism
    belief in the kinship of a group of people with a common totem
    tribalism
    the beliefs of a tribal society
    values
    beliefs of a person or social group in which they have an emotional investment (either for or against something)
    vampirism
    belief in the existence of vampires
    individualism
    a belief in the importance of the individual and the virtue of self-reliance and personal independence
    spiritual being, supernatural being
    an incorporeal being believed to have powers to affect the course of human events
    nuclear deterrence
    the military doctrine that an enemy will be deterred from using nuclear weapons as long as he can be destroyed as a consequence
    idea
    a personal view
    judgement, judgment, mind
    an opinion formed by judging something
    apophatism
    the religious belief that God cannot be known but is completely `other' and must be described in negative terms (in terms of what God is not)
    cataphatism
    the religious belief that God has given enough clues to be known to humans positively and affirmatively (e.g., God created Adam `in his own image')
    analogy, doctrine of analogy
    the religious belief that between creature and creator no similarity can be found so great but that the dissimilarity is always greater; any analogy between God and humans will always be inadequate
    cult, cultus, religious cult
    a system of religious beliefs and rituals
    cult
    a religion or sect that is generally considered to be unorthodox, extremist, or false
    ecclesiasticism
    religion appropriate to a church and to ecclesiastical principles and practices
    mysticism, religious mysticism
    a religion based on mystical communion with an ultimate reality
    nature worship
    a system of religion that deifies and worships natural forces and phenomena
    revealed religion
    a religion founded primarily on the revelations of God to humankind
    eyes
    opinion or judgment
    parti pris, preconceived idea, preconceived notion, preconceived opinion, preconception, prepossession
    an opinion formed beforehand without adequate evidence
    pole
    one of two divergent or mutually exclusive opinions
    hope, promise
    grounds for feeling hopeful about the future
    foretaste
    an early limited awareness of something yet to occur
    possibility
    a future prospect or potential
    anticipation, expectancy
    something expected (as on the basis of a norm)
    apprehension, misgiving
    painful expectation
    egoism
    (ethics) the theory that the pursuit of your own welfare is the basis of morality
    hodgepodge, jumble, patchwork
    a theory or argument made up of miscellaneous or incongruous ideas
    Cabalism, Kabbalism
    the doctrines of the Kabbalah
    mainstream
    the prevailing current of thought
    abolitionism
    the doctrine that calls for the abolition of slavery
    absolutism
    the doctrine of an absolute being
    amoralism
    the doctrine that moral distinctions are invalid
    animalism
    the doctrine that human beings are purely animal in nature and lacking a spiritual nature
    animism
    the doctrine that all natural objects and the universe itself have souls
    antiestablishmentarianism, antiestablishmentism
    the doctrine of opposition to the social and political establishment
    asceticism
    the doctrine that through renunciation of worldly pleasures it is possible to achieve a high spiritual or intellectual state
    contextualism
    any doctrine emphasizing the importance of the context in solving problems or establishing the meaning of terms
    creationism
    the literal belief in the account of Creation given in the Book of Genesis
    credo, creed
    any system of principles or beliefs
    divine right, divine right of kings
    the doctrine that kings derive their right to rule directly from God and are not accountable to their subjects; rebellion is the worst of political crimes
    dogma
    a doctrine or code of beliefs accepted as authoritative
    dualism
    the doctrine that reality consists of two basic opposing elements, often taken to be mind and matter (or mind and body), or good and evil
    dynamism
    any of the various theories or doctrines or philosophical systems that attempt to explain the phenomena of the universe in terms of some immanent force or energy
    epicureanism
    a doctrine of hedonism that was defended by several ancient Greek philosophers
    establishmentarianism, establishmentism
    the doctrine of supporting the social or political establishment
    ethicism
    a doctrine that ethics and ethical ideas are valid and important
    expansionism
    the doctrine of expanding the territory or the economic influence of a country
    formalism
    the doctrine that formal structure rather than content is what should be represented
    functionalism
    any doctrine that stresses utility or purpose
    Girondism
    the doctrine of the Girondists
    gospel
    a doctrine that is believed to be of great importance
    gymnosophy
    the doctrine of a sect of Hindu philosophers who practiced nudity and asceticism and meditation
    imitation
    the doctrine that representations of nature or human behavior should be accurate imitations
    individualism, laissez faire
    the doctrine that government should not interfere in commercial affairs
    rugged individualism
    individualism in social and economic affairs; belief not only in personal liberty and self-reliance but also in free competition
    internationalism
    the doctrine that nations should cooperate because their common interests are more important than their differences
    unilateralism
    the doctrine that nations should conduct their foreign affairs individualistically without the advice or involvement of other nations
    irredentism, irridentism
    the doctrine that irredenta should be controlled by the country to which they are ethnically or historically related
    literalism
    the doctrine of realistic (literal) portrayal in art or literature
    democracy, majority rule
    the doctrine that the numerical majority of an organized group can make decisions binding on the whole group
    monism
    the doctrine that reality consists of a single basic substance or element
    multiculturalism
    the doctrine that several different cultures (rather than one national culture) can coexist peacefully and equitably in a single country
    nationalism
    the doctrine that your national culture and interests are superior to any other
    nationalism
    the doctrine that nations should act independently (rather than collectively) to attain their goals
    nihilism
    a revolutionary doctrine that advocates destruction of the social system for its own sake
    pacificism, pacifism, passivism
    the doctrine that all violence is unjustifiable
    pluralism
    the doctrine that reality consists of several basic substances or elements
    populism
    the political doctrine that supports the rights and powers of the common people in their struggle with the privileged elite
    presentism
    the doctrine that the Scripture prophecies of the Apocalypse (as in the Book of Revelations) are presently in the course of being fulfilled
    freethinking, rationalism
    the doctrine that reason is the right basis for regulating conduct
    reformism
    a doctrine of reform
    humanism, secular humanism
    the doctrine emphasizing a person's capacity for self-realization through reason; rejects religion and the supernatural
    humanism, humanitarianism
    the doctrine that people's duty is to promote human welfare
    egalitarianism, equalitarianism
    the doctrine of the equality of mankind and the desirability of political and economic and social equality
    feminism
    a doctrine that advocates equal rights for women
    magic, thaumaturgy
    any art that invokes supernatural powers
    occultism
    a belief in supernatural powers and the possibility of bringing them under human control
    reincarnationism
    a doctrine that on the death of the body the soul migrates to or is born again in another body
    secessionism
    a doctrine that maintains the right of secession
    secularism
    a doctrine that rejects religion and religious considerations
    dispossession, exorcism
    freeing from evil spirits
    political sympathies, politics
    the opinion you hold with respect to political questions
    phenomenology
    a philosophical doctrine proposed by Edmund Husserl based on the study of human experience in which considerations of objective reality are not taken into account
    philosophical doctrine, philosophical theory
    a doctrine accepted by adherents to a philosophy
    states' rights
    a doctrine that federal powers should be curtailed and returned to the individual states
    commandment, precept, teaching
    a doctrine that is taught
    theological doctrine
    the doctrine of a religious group
    utilitarianism
    doctrine that the useful is the good; especially as elaborated by Jeremy Bentham and James Mill; the aim was said to be the greatest happiness for the greatest number
    theism
    the doctrine or belief in the existence of a God or gods
    heathenism, pagan religion, paganism
    any of various religions other than Christianity or Judaism or Islamism
    Christian religion, Christianity
    a monotheistic system of beliefs and practices based on the Old Testament and the teachings of Jesus as embodied in the New Testament and emphasizing the role of Jesus as savior
    Hindooism, Hinduism
    a body of religious and philosophical beliefs and cultural practices native to India and based on a caste system; it is characterized by a belief in reincarnation, by a belief in a supreme being of many forms and natures, by the view that opposing theories are aspects of one eternal truth, and by a desire for liberation from earthly evils
    Brahmanism, Brahminism
    the religious beliefs of ancient India as prescribed in the sacred Vedas and Brahmanas and Upanishads
    Jainism
    religion founded in the 6th century BC as a revolt against Hinduism; emphasizes asceticism and immortality and transmigration of the soul; denies existence of a perfect or supreme being
    Sikhism
    the doctrines of a monotheistic religion founded in northern India in the 16th century by Guru Nanak and combining elements of Hinduism and Islam
    Buddhism
    the teaching of Buddha that life is permeated with suffering caused by desire, that suffering ceases when desire ceases, and that enlightenment obtained through right conduct and wisdom and meditation releases one from desire and suffering and rebirth
    Hsuan Chiao, Taoism
    popular Chinese philosophical system based in teachings of Lao-tzu but characterized by a pantheism of many gods and the practices of alchemy and divination and magic
    Shinto, Shintoism
    the ancient indigenous religion of Japan lacking formal dogma; characterized by a veneration of nature spirits and of ancestors
    Manichaeanism, Manichaeism
    a religion founded by Manes in the third century; a synthesis of Zoroastrian dualism between light and dark and Babylonian folklore and Buddhist ethics and superficial elements of Christianity; spread widely in the Roman Empire but had largely died out by 1000
    Mithraicism, Mithraism
    ancient Persian religion; popular among Romans during first three centuries a.d.
    Mazdaism, Zoroastrianism
    system of religion founded in Persia in the 6th century BC by Zoroaster; set forth in the Zend-Avesta; based on concept of struggle between light (good) and dark (evil)
    Bahaism
    a religion founded in Iran in 1863; emphasizes the spiritual unity of all humankind; incorporates Christian and Islamic tenets; many adherents live in the United States
    Asian shamanism, shamanism
    an animistic religion of northern Asia having the belief that the mediation between the visible and the spirit worlds is effected by shamans
    shamanism
    any animistic religion similar to Asian shamanism (especially as practiced by certain Native American tribes)
    Wicca
    the polytheistic nature religion of modern witchcraft whose central deity is a mother goddess; claims origins in pre-Christian pagan religions of western Europe
    amateurism
    the conviction that people should participate in sports as a hobby (for the fun of it) rather than for money
    descriptivism
    (linguistics) a doctrine supporting or promoting descriptive linguistics
    descriptivism
    (ethics) a doctrine holding that moral statements have a truth value
    prescriptivism
    (linguistics) a doctrine supporting or promoting prescriptive linguistics
    prescriptivism
    (ethics) a doctrine holding that moral statements prescribe appropriate attitudes and behavior
    church doctrine, creed, gospel, religious doctrine
    the written body of teachings of a religious group that are generally accepted by that group
    Kingdom of God
    the spiritual domain over which God is sovereign
    deity, divinity, god, immortal
    any supernatural being worshipped as controlling some part of the world or some aspect of life or who is the personification of a force
    aeon, eon
    (Gnosticism) a divine power or nature emanating from the Supreme Being and playing various roles in the operation of the universe
    angel
    spiritual being attendant upon God
    faerie, faery, fairy, fay, sprite
    a small being, human in form, playful and having magical powers
    disembodied spirit, spirit
    any incorporeal supernatural being that can become visible (or audible) to human beings
    trickster
    a mischievous supernatural being found in the folklore of many peoples
    millennium
    (New Testament) in Revelations it is foretold that those faithful to Jesus will reign with Jesus over the earth for a thousand years; the meaning of these words have been much debated; some denominations (e.g. Jehovah's Witnesses) expect it to be a thousand years of justice and peace and happiness
    popular sovereignty
    the doctrine that government derives its authority from and is subject to the will of the people
    popular sovereignty
    pre-Civil War doctrine that people living in a new territory could decide whether or not slavery would be allowed there
    type of:
    cognitive content, content, mental object
    the sum or range of what has been perceived, discovered, or learned
  2. noun
    a vague idea in which some confidence is placed
    “it strengthened my belief in his sincerity”
    synonyms: feeling, impression, notion, opinion
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    presence
    the impression that something is present
    effect
    an impression (especially one that is artificial or contrived)
    first blush
    at the first glimpse or impression
    hunch, intuition, suspicion
    an impression that something might be the case
    sound effect
    an effect that imitates a sound called for in the script of a play
    special effect
    an effect used to produce scenes that cannot be achieved by normal techniques (especially on film)
    bosom, heart
    the locus of feelings and intuitions
    type of:
    idea, thought
    the content of cognition; the main thing you are thinking about
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