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Coined circa 1640, from dis- +‎ believe. Compare misbelieve.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /dɪsbɪˈliːv/
  • (file)


disbelieve (third-person singular simple present disbelieves, present participle disbelieving, simple past and past participle disbelieved)

  1. To not believe; to exercise disbelief.
    If you disbelieve such people, then keep disbelieving them for as long as you live or want.
  2. To actively deny (a statement, opinion or perception).
    He chose to disbelieve the bad news as inconceivable.
  3. To cease to believe.
    • 1802, The Connecticut Evangelical Magazine, and Religious ...[1]:
      And so far as this opinion prevails, we have reason to fear that the important doctrine, of the real Divinity and even of the humanity of Christ, will be gradually disbelieved.
    • 1890, Edward Henage Dering, Freville Chase[2], volume 1, page 37:
      Elfrida walked slowly upstairs, reviewing what had happened and not happened in the last three, not to say six weeks, and gradually disbelieving the good case that she had made out.
    • 1923, David Alec Wilson, Life of Carlyle[3], volume 1, page 79:
      He never "revolted" against Christianity; only, reluctantly and gradually, disbelieved it.
    • 1986, Dermot Healy, Fighting with Shadows[4], page 136:
      From the moment he said "I love you" she slowly disbelieved everything he said.
    • 2007, Robert F. Gorman, Great Events from History: The 20th century, 1901-1940[5]:
      Cook's claim was gradually disbelieved, and Cook fell into disfavor and died a pauper in 1940.



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