give the benefit of the doubt


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give (someone or something) the benefit of the doubt

To retain a favorable or at least neutral opinion of someone or something until the full information about the subject is available. You're my sister! Can't you give me the benefit of the doubt, instead of believing the worst about me right away? Let's give him the benefit of the doubt before we start accusing him. There may be a good explanation for the missing money.
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.