give (someone or something) 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

give someone the benefit of the doubt

COMMON
1. If you give someone the benefit of the doubt, you decide to believe that what they are saying is honest, even though it is possible that they are not telling the truth. As to whether she deliberately lied or got the facts wrong, I suppose we could give her the benefit of the doubt.
2. If you give someone the benefit of the doubt, you decide to believe that what they are doing is right, even though it is possible that they are doing something wrong. I am basically a trusting person. I make it a practice to give everyone the benefit of the doubt.
See also: benefit, doubt, give, of, someone

give somebody the ˌbenefit of the ˈdoubt

accept that a person is right or innocent because you cannot prove that they are not: She said she was late because of the traffic and I gave her the benefit of the doubt.
See also: benefit, doubt, give, of, somebody
References in periodicals archive ?
When the video ref can't decide whether a try has been scored or not he gives the benefit of the doubt to the attacking side and awards the score.
Our legal system gives the benefit of the doubt to too many thugs and the rest of us suffer.
Employing new technologies and empowering local police, it gives the benefit of the doubt to parents and community leaders by removing the veil of secrecy that has shrouded the whereabouts of more than 64,000 registered sex offenders in California.
Even if one gives the benefit of the doubt to well-intentioned bishops wishing to reassert their rightful positions as chief teachers of the flock, the review process that has been established in their name to assure conformity of catechetical materials to the Catechism of the Catholic Church strains all patience and goodwill.