credence

credence
credence, credit, credibility
1. In general use, credence means ‘belief, trustful acceptance’, and is used mainly in the expression to give (or lend) credence to, which means ‘believe, trust’:

• The radicality of these changes…had lent credence to the set of beliefs described above —Dædalus, 1979.

2. The phrase to give credit to once meant much the same as to give credence to, i.e. ‘to believe’, but in current use it is more likely to be used in the form to give a person credit (for something), meaning to ascribe some good quality to them: (also used with a layer of irony):

• You chaps do tend to give the rest of us credit for perceptions about your work that we don't…always have —John Wain, 1953

• They search for ages for the wrong word which, to give them credit, they eventually find —East Anglian, 1993.

3. Credibility shares some of the meaning of both credence and credit in that belief lies at the heart of its meaning, but it is used rather to mean ‘the condition of being credible or believable’:

• The empirical basis of theory is fundamental to its reliability and its validity and, in the end, its credibility —P. H. Mann, 1985.

This meaning, now largely confined to special domains such as religion and philosophy, has been overshadowed by an extended meaning ‘reputation, status’:

• It was clear to the [American] President that his credibility was on the line with the leaders in Hanoi —Guardian, 1970

• By then, however, the fatal damage to the Prime Minister's credibility will have been done —Today, 1992.

Such credibility is regularly enhanced, established, gained, lost, maintained, and so on.
The overlap between the older and the newer meaning can be seen in uses such as the following:

• A major French archaeological discovery that was declared fraudulent by many prehistorians in the 1920's has now regained credibility as a result of dating studies conducted at three independent laboratories —Scientific American, 1975.

4. Two special uses of credibility that have arisen recently are credibility gap, meaning ‘an apparent difference between what is said and what is true’

• (Official American statements are no longer taken on trust…. The phenomenon…is called the ‘credibility gap’ —Guardian, 1966)

and, chiefly in BrE, street credibility (often reduced informally to street cred), meaning ‘acceptability among fashionable young urban people’

• (Motor enthusiast David George has seen his Ford Granada gain street credibility with its very own TV career —Bolton Evening News, 2005).


Modern English usage. 2014.

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  • crédence — [ kredɑ̃s ] n. f. • 1519; « croyance » v. 1360; it. credenza « confiance », dans la loc. fare la credenza « faire l essai » (des mets, des boissons) 1 ♦ Buffet de salle à manger dont les tablettes superposées servent à poser les plats, la… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Credence — can have several meanings: In probability theory, credence means a subjective estimate of probability, as in Bayesian probability. In economics, a credence good is a good whose value is hard for a consumer to ascertain. A letter of credence is a… …   Wikipedia

  • Credence — • A small table of wood, marble, or other suitable material placed within the sanctuary of a church and near the wall at the Epistle side, for the purpose of holding the cruets, acolytes candles, and other utensils required for the celebration of …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Credence — Crédence La crédence (de l italien credenza : confiance) est un meuble ou partie de buffet où l on range et expose la vaisselle, les plats précieux et les objets servant pendant le repas. Le terme désigne également une table où l’on pose les …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Credence — Cre dence (kr[=e] dens), n. [LL. credentia, fr. L. credens, entis, p. pr. of credere to trust, believe: cf. OF. credence. See {Creed}, and cf. {Credent}, {Creance}.] [1913 Webster] 1. Reliance of the mind on evidence of facts derived from other… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • credence — [krēd′ ns] n. [OFr < ML credentia < L credens, prp. of credere: see CREED] 1. belief, esp. in the reports or testimony of another [to give credence to rumors] 2. credentials: now only in the phrase LETTERS OF CREDENCE 3. Eccles. a small… …   English World dictionary

  • Credence — Cre dence, v. t. To give credence to; to believe. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] || …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • credence — I noun acceptance, act of believing, assurance, belief, certainty, complete trust, confidence, conviction, credit, dependence on, faith, firm belief, fixed belief, full assurance, full belief, implicit belief, instinctive belief, persuasion,… …   Law dictionary

  • crédence — CRÉDENCE. s. f. Sorte de petite table qui est au côté de l Autel, et où l on met les burettes, le bassin et les autres choses qui servent à la Messe, ou à quelque cérémonie ecclésiastique. Il y a ordinairement deux crédences aux côtés de l Autel …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie Française 1798

  • credence — mid 14c., from M.L. credentia belief, from L. credentum (nom. credens), pp. of credere believe, trust (see CREDO (Cf. credo)) …   Etymology dictionary

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