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

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
References in periodicals archive ?
White responded: "I always want to give the benefit of the doubt."
Till that time comes, it is the duty of the National Assembly speaker to give the benefit of the doubt to the accused lawmakers in custody of the authorities.
Let us give the benefit of the doubt to the people directly concerned.
The medical profession should represent the interests of patients, not give the benefit of the doubt to criminals who shouldn't be treating a public kept in the dark.
He admitted: "I give the benefit of the doubt to Michael on everything - he's innocent until proven guilty - but I was thinking, 'figure out your s**t and I'll hold on to my son'."
He added: "I must give the benefit of the doubt to the driver involved but I was very close to recording a verdict of unlawful killing."
Wallace said: "The major difference seems to be that in the UK we give the benefit of the doubt to a winner in a case of interference, whereas on the continent the injured party gets the benefit of any doubt.