the benefit of the doubt

the benefit of the doubt

Meaning | Synonyms

  • regards a person as innocent unless confirmed otherwise
  • to be judged innocent, unless the conviction is proved
  • to treat a person as innocent till not proven convicted
  • to choose to believe someone, even if you are not sure what the person is saying is true
  • to believe something is good about someone, while its chances of being bad are equal in reality

Example Sentences

  1. Let's give her the benefit of the doubt and assume that she is right.
  2. I don't believe that he didn't take the money, but I will give him the benefit of the doubt until I can prove otherwise.
  3. She said that she will be on time today. I don't think that's true, but I will give her the benefit of the doubt.
  4. I think Peter broke the window but he denies it. I will give him the benefit of the doubt until I can get the video from the surveillance company.
  5. John deserves the benefits of doubt until the final results of racing competition.


It is unclear where the phrase originated. It is reasonable to assume that it is related to the phrase "reasonable doubt" that is used in law. It means that the person is assumed innocent until it can be proven otherwise.

It is thought that the phrase was first used during the Irish treason trials in 1798.

"if the jury entertain a reasonable doubt upon the truth of the testimony of witnesses... they are bound" to acquit.

It is reported to have been used in the Boston Massacre Trials of 1770 but no written evidence of this exists.

The current wording of the phrase was first recorded in the late 1800s.


T 2 Thoughts

2 Thoughts

It was clear enough to understand what it meant. Thanks!

- Tamizh January 13, 2020

It really helped.

- Aradhya May 8, 2018

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Idiom of the Day

laughing stock

Meaning: Something ridiculous which can be laughed upon.

Example: After the event and how he behaved there, he was the laughing stock in school for days to come. Read on


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