See also: Faith and fáith


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Alternative formsEdit


From Middle English faith, fayth, feith, feyth (also fay, fey, fei ("faith"); > English fay (faith)), borrowed from Old French fay, fey, fei, feit, feid (faith), from Latin fidēs (faith, belief, trust; whence also English fidelity), from fīdō (trust, confide in), ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *bʰidʰ-, zero-grade of *bʰeydʰ- ("to command, persuade, trust"; whence also English bide).

Old French had [θ] as a final devoiced allophone of /ð/ from lenited Latin /d/; this eventually fell silent in the 12th century. The -th of the Middle English forms is most straightforwardly accounted for as a direct borrowing of a French [θ]. However, it has also been seen as arising from alteration of a French form with -d under influence of English abstract nouns in the suffix -th (e.g. truth, ruth, health, etc.), or as a recharacterisation of a French form like fay, fey, fei with the same suffix, thus making the word equivalent to fay +‎ -th.


  • IPA(key): /feɪθ/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -eɪθ
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faith (countable and uncountable, plural faiths)

  1. The process of forming or understanding abstractions, ideas, or beliefs, without empirical evidence, experience or observation.
    I have faith that my prayers will be answered.
    I have faith in the healing power of crystals.
  2. A religious belief system.
    The Christian faith.
  3. An obligation of loyalty or fidelity and the observance of such an obligation.
    He acted in good faith to restore broken diplomatic ties after defeating the incumbent.
  4. A trust or confidence in the intentions or abilities of a person, object, or ideal.
    I have faith in the goodness of my fellow man.
    You need to have faith in yourself, that you can overcome your shortcomings and become a good person.
    • 1999, Nicholas Walker, “The Reorientation of Critical Theory: Habermas”, in Simon Glemdinning, editor, The Edinburgh Encyclopedia of Continental Philosophy[1], Routledge, →ISBN, page 489:
      [] with a mentality anchored in a profoundly influential and persistent hostility to central features of the Enlightment faith in the theoretical and practical autonomy of the human subject.
  5. (obsolete) Credibility or truth.
    • (Can we date this quote by Mitford and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      the faith of the foregoing narrative


For quotations of use of this term, see Citations:faith.


  • (knowing, without direct observation, based on indirect evidence and experience, that something is true, real, or will happen): belief, confidence, trust, conviction
  • (system of religious belief): religion


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Related termsEdit



  • faith at OneLook Dictionary Search
  • faith in Keywords for Today: A 21st Century Vocabulary, edited by The Keywords Project, Colin MacCabe, Holly Yanacek, 2018.
  • faith in The Century Dictionary, The Century Co., New York, 1911
  • faith in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.