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English Idiom: Give the benefit of the doubt

I am going to talk about an English idiom which is related to humans. The idiom is: Give the benefit of the doubt, so notice the following conversational example to know its meaning:

Jane: Did you hear about manager’s new decision?
Ava: No. What’s that?
Jane: Sally said he is going to give us a promotion?
Ava: Do you really give her the benefit of the doubt?

As you can notice from the above example, Ava gave a reaction to Jane’s words and to what is Sally said which she used the phrase of “give her the benefit of the doubt” to show that Sally’s words won’t be so right and they can’t count on sally’s words.

Idiom #244

Give the benefit of the doubt: 

Meaning: Believe someone’s statement, without proof.

English Idiom: Give the benefit of the doubt
English Idiom: Give the benefit of the doubt

To know more about this idiom let’s check the definition of this idioms in some great dictionaries:

Oxford:

A concession that a person or fact must be regarded as correct or justified, if the contrary has not been proven.

Cambridge:

To decide that you will believe someone, even though you are not sure that what the person is saying is true

Merriam-Webster:

The state of accepting something/someone as honest or deserving of trust even though there are doubts

These meaning can be understood for this idiom too based on explanations of most dictionaries:

  • to treat a person as innocent till not proven convicted
  • to be judged innocent, unless the conviction is proved
  • regards a person as innocent unless confirmed otherwise
  • 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

It is not clear exactly where the phrase is originated, but it is assumed it would be related to the phrase “reasonable doubt” which is used in law. It means that the person is assumed innocent until it can be proven otherwise. This idioms is thought to be used during the Irish treason trials in 1798 for the first time based on some resources. There is no written evidence of this, but it is reported to have been used in the Boston Massacre Trials of 1770, and the phrase was first recorded in the late 1800s.

English Idiom: Give the benefit of the doubt
English Idiom: Give the benefit of the doubt

Let’s take a look at some examples about this idiom to understand it better:

We’ll give you the benefit of the doubt as we don’t know exactly what is right or wrong.

She told us a story about her success, and we gave her the benefit of the doubt.

He might be lying for being late, but we have to give him the benefit of the doubt and accept what he said.

It’s better to give him the benefit of the doubt before we start accusing him while it seems to be a good explanation for the missing money.

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