believer

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Dennis Lee

Senior Member
Hong Kong
I have a question: Can I use believer and unbeliever as an adj? For example, "believer family" means my family members believe in God. Is this OK?
 
  • Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    It sounds a bit strange to me, Dennis.

    But then, I'm not a believer.

    Perhaps it works for those who are.
     

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    I can't readily think of a context in which you could use "believer" as an adjective. A "believer family" certainly doesn't work. :(
     

    Kokliko

    New Member
    France (français-french)
    Hi,
    I would like to know how to pronounce the word "believer"... and especially the first syllable.
    I always pronounce it something like "biliver"... but also heard the beginning more like [bʌt].

    Collins indicate this : [bɪliːvəʳ ], but I'm don't really know the difference between [ɪ] and [iː] ? is it a kind of mix between i and ʌ ?
     

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    I would like to know how to pronounce the word "believer"... and especially the first syllable.
    I always pronounce it something like "biliver"... but also heard the beginning more like [bʌt].

    Collins indicate this : [bɪliːvəʳ ], but I'm don't really know the difference between [ɪ] and [iː] ? is it a kind of mix between i and ʌ ?
    Sorry, I can't interpret those IPA symbols, but I pronounce it the same way he does if you listen to the UK-RP sound clip attached to the definition in our dictionary.
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Stress the second syllable. There isn't this short and long vowel distinction in French, but this is important in English: [ɪ] is the short and less tense sound, and the lips are not spread out as much; in contrast [iː] has the tongue raised even more, is longer and more tense, and the lips are spread out more. You should just listen to the sound clips as recommended by Donny.

    I haven't heard believer used in a while, but someone described me as a believer this weekend. I don't think the term is common in the Anglican church, but when I attended an independent church a while back, some of the older members talked about believers.

    (And answering the original question: it's unusual to use believer to modify a noun. I'd say, 'my family are believers'.)
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Good point. I've only ever encountered it in the context of Christians, but that might be because I haven't interacted with Jews or Muslims in this way, and maybe they would be less willing to use the term with someone who isn't an adherent of their religion. Do we know if Jews, Muslims, etc talk about themselves in this way?
     

    Roxxxannne

    Senior Member
    English (northeastern US)
    Good point. I've only ever encountered it in the context of Christians, but that might be because I haven't interacted with Jews or Muslims in this way, and maybe they would be less willing to use the term with someone who isn't an adherent of their religion. Do we know if Jews, Muslims, etc talk about themselves in this way?
    EDITED to provide more information and to try to sound less like an historian of religion (I hope I am not offending anyone by what I say here).

    I don't call myself a 'believer' and I haven't heard other Jews refer to themselves as believers; most of them are in the Reform or Conservative branches. But it would not surprise me in the slightest to learn that Jews do use this word in ordinary speech.

    Professing one's belief is a crucial part of the Christian faith. I think that's because the first generation of Christians were all converts, and their conversion happened in recorded history; in addition, Christian denominations are officially and consciously distinct from each other. Reciting a creed and calling oneself a believer is a way to connect to the original Christians and to distinguish oneself from members of other denominations or faiths. Also, If one is a full member of a faith at birth, there is no belief to accept (although one can certainly reject it). But when one is baptized after infancy, one is aware of having consciously accepted a belief.
    Jewish liturgy includes descriptions of how people should behave and of the nature of God (for instance, the Shema Yisrael: "The Lord [is] our God, the Lord is one"), but the Jewish liturgy does not include an clear statement of belief on the order of Apostles' Creed in the Book of Common Prayer: "I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth: And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord, Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, Born of the Virgin Mary, ...".
     
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