give the benefit of the doubt


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give somebody/something the benefit of the doubt

to decide you will believe someone or something People tell me I shouldn't trust him, but I'm willing to give Simon the benefit of the doubt and wait and see what he actually offers. The American people are usually willing to give the government the benefit of the doubt.
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give somebody the benefit of the doubt

to believe something good about someone, rather than something bad, when you have the possibility of doing either After hearing his explanation, I was prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt.
See also: benefit, doubt, give, of

give the benefit of the doubt

Regard someone as innocent until proven otherwise; lean toward a favorable view of someone. For example, Let's give her the benefit of the doubt and assume that she's right. [Mid-1800s]
See also: benefit, doubt, give, of
References in periodicals archive ?
Hamdi -- even assuming he is an enemy combatant, which he denies -- makes it difficult to give the benefit of the doubt to such claims of necessity.
If I were there, I would give the benefit of the doubt to ballots coming in from military personnel generally.
Says Larry Elliott, director of the NIOSH Office of Compensation Analysis and Support, "We give the benefit of the doubt to the claimant, using science to the fullest extent possible in doing so.
Had he got within a head or maybe even a neck, he would have been a shoo-in to get the race, but as the gap was three-quarters of a length, the panel were always likely to give the benefit of the doubt to the winner.
If you are not totally sure then give the benefit of the doubt.
On a ball that lands so close to the line that you can't tell if it was in or out, you've got to give the benefit of the doubt to your opponent and play the shot.