benefit of the doubt

English edit

Alternative forms edit

Pronunciation edit

  • (file)

Noun edit

benefit of the doubt (countable and uncountable, plural benefits of the doubt)

  1. A favorable judgement given in the absence of full evidence.
    • 2019 May 19, Alex McLevy, “The final Game Of Thrones brings a pensive but simple meditation about stories (newbies)”, in The A.V. Club[1]:
      Plenty of past seasons’ events could look ill-conceived in the critical eye of Monday-morning quarterbacking, but previously, the show had earned the benefit of the doubt that missteps on the part of supposedly intelligent characters were a plausible lack of in-world foresight.
  2. A trust that something will turn out or happen as hoped for or expected despite concerns.
    • 2020 April 12, Simon Tisdall, “US's global reputation hits rock-bottom over Trump's coronavirus response”, in The Guardian[2]:
      “We consider this to be an act of modern piracy. This is no way to treat transatlantic partners. Even in times of global crisis, we shouldn’t resort to the tactics of the wild west,” said Andreas Geisel, a leading Berlin politician. Significantly, Merkel has refused to give Trump the benefit of the doubt.
  3. (cricket) The principle employed by umpires in cases of uncertainty concerning a batsman possibly being out, in which the decision must be in the batsman's favour.

Usage notes edit

  • Almost always used with the verb give.

Translations edit

See also edit