Legal Definition and Related Resources of Belief

Meaning of Belief

Mental conviction ; acceptance of something as true. Religious faith. That which is believed.

Belief Alternative Definition

Conviction of the mind, arising not from actual perception or knowledge, but by way of inference, or from evidence received or information derived from others. It differs from “knowledge” only in degree. 9 Gray (Mass.) 274. It is said to be a stronger word than “imagination.” (4 Ga. 37), or “suspicion” (5 Cush. [Mass.] 374), but has been held to be substantially synonymous with “supposition” (102 111. 277). Belief may evidently be stronger or weaker, according to the weight of evidence adduced in favor of the proposition to which belief is granted or refused, and so “firm belief” in a statute means more than “belief.” 4 Serg. & R. (Pa.) 137; 1 Greenl. Ev. §§ 7-13. See 1 Starkie, Ev. 41; 2 W. Bl. 881; 8 Watts (Pa.) 406.

Synonyms of Belief

(Something believed), noun

  • canon
  • conclusion
  • conviction
  • credo
  • creed
  • doctrinal statement
  • doctrine
  • dogma
  • expectation
  • maxim
  • persuasion
  • precept
  • principle
  • rule
  • tenet
  • Associated Concepts: beyond reasonable doubt
  • presumption

(State of mind), noun

  • absoluteness
  • assurance
  • assuredness
  • certainty
  • certitude
  • conclusion
  • confidence
  • conviction
  • credence
  • credulity
  • definiteness
  • expectation
  • intuition
  • judgment
  • opinio
  • opinion
  • persuasio
  • positiveness
  • sanguineness
  • understanding
  • unequivocalness Associated Concepts: good faith belief
  • suspicion foreign phrases: Cuilibet in arte sua perito est creden dum
  • Credence should be given to one skilled in his particular art
  • Cuique in sua arte credendum est
  • Everyone is to be believed in reference to his own art or profession
  • Testibus deponentibus in pari numero
  • digni oribus est credendum
  • When the number of testifying witnesses is equal on both sides
  • the more worthy are to be believed

Related Entries of Belief in the Encyclopedia of Law Project

Browse or run a search for Belief in the American Encyclopedia of Law, the Asian Encyclopedia of Law, the European Encyclopedia of Law, the UK Encyclopedia of Law or the Latin American and Spanish Encyclopedia of Law.

Belief in Historical Law

You might be interested in the historical meaning of this term. Browse or search for Belief in Historical Law in the Encyclopedia of Law.

Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms

Search for legal acronyms and/or abbreviations containing Belief in the Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms Dictionary.

Related Legal Terms

You might be also interested in these legal terms:

Mentioned in these terms

Estoppel by Acquiescence, Circumstantial Evidence, Color Of Right, Conscientious Objector, Convince, Credible, Credit, Creed, Del Credere, Delusion, Dying Declaration, Estoppel, Evidence, Fabricate, Fraud, Freedom Of Religion, Gross Negligence, Hallucination, Holding Out, Impeach, Insane Delusion, Misrepresentation, , Motive, Opinion, Ordeal, Palming Off, Preponderance, Reasonable Cause, Reliance, Religion, Suspect.

What does Belief mean in American Law?

The definition of Belief in the law of the United States, as defined by the lexicographer Arthur Leff in his legal dictionary is:

Subjective conviction that a fact or state of the world is the case. “I believe” is thus equivalent to “I am convinced,” “To my mind it is true that ….” and similar locutions. “I know” sounds stronger than “I believe,” and is often used to express that nuance of intensity. But, strictly speaking, all one can know is what one believes; hence “know” tends to mean “believe on the grounds of evidence which I believe to be very persuasive.” (“I suspect” is often used to convey “I believe, but I”m hard pressed to specify sufficient evidence for my belief.”) It is sometimes argued that “knowledge” is used to describe what comes from the senses while “belief” comes from other sources (e.g., argument, inference, the testimony of others), but the distinction, if it ever existed, seems not be be strongly recognized today. See also information and belief.


You might be interested in these references tools:

Resource Description
Belief in the Dictionary Belief in our legal dictionaries
Browse the Legal Thesaurus Find synonyms and related words of Belief
Legal Maxims Maxims are established principles that jurists use as interpretive tools, invoked more frequently in international law
Legal Answers (Q&A) A community-driven knowledge creation process, of enduring value to a broad audience
Related topics Belief in the World Encyclopedia of Law


This definition of Belief Is based on the The Cyclopedic Law Dictionary . This definition needs to be proofread..

Vocabularies (Semantic Web Information)

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Topic Map A group of names, occurrences and associations
Topic Tree A topic display format, showing the hierarchy
Sitemap Index Sitemap Index, including Taxonomies The URI of Belief (more about URIs)

Belief in the Dictionary of Law consisting of Judicial Definitions and Explanations of Words, Phrases and Maxims

Conviction of mind, founded on evidence, that a fact exists – that an act was done, that a statement is true. Giddens v. Mirk, 4 Ga. 369 (1848). The difference between “belief” and “knowledge” consists in the degree of certainty. Things which do not make a deep impression on the memory may be said to leave a “belief”. “Knowledge” is firm belief. 9 Cal. 62.

Note: This legal definition of Belief in the Dictionary of Law (English and American Jurisprudence) is from 1893.

Belief in Law Enforcement

Main Entry: Law Enforcement in the Legal Dictionary. This section provides, in the context of Law Enforcement, a partial definition of belief.


See Also

  • Law Enforcement Officer
  • Police Officer
  • Law Enforcement Agency

Further Reading

Definition of Belief

The Canada social science dictionary [1] provides the following meaning of Belief: The degree to which an individual believes in conventional values, morality, and the legitimacy of law. In Travis Hirschi’s work, aspects of the ‘social bond’.

Belief: Resources

Notes and References

  • Drislane, R., & Parkinson, G. (2016). (Concept of) Belief. Online dictionary of the social sciences. Open University of Canada



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