benefit of the doubt, to give/have the

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

have the benefit of the doubt

To be viewed in a favorable or neutral way when all information is not yet available, rather than being judged or criticized preemptively. You're my sister! Can't I at least have the benefit of the doubt, instead of you believing the worst about me straight away? Look, let's let him have the benefit of the doubt for now. There's probably a good explanation for all this.
See also: benefit, doubt, have, of
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

benefit of the doubt, to give/have the

To assume or treat as innocent when there is conflicting evidence. The term comes from the law in many countries, whereby a person must be assumed to be innocent of a crime unless definitely proved to be guilty; in other words, when in doubt, the verdict must be “not guilty.” The expression began to be used figuratively for all kinds of situation in the nineteenth century.
See also: benefit, give, have, of, to
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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