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
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.

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
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

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
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

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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References in periodicals archive ?
The judge Rahim, however, giving the benefit of the doubt to the accused and acquitted them.
The Sessions Court Judge of Patiala had on September 22, 1999, acquitted Sidhu and his associate, , due to lack of evidence in the case and giving the benefit of the doubt.
To which, the court, while giving the benefit of the doubt, ordered for the acquittal of four persons.
And then again giving the benefit of the doubt to the Daily Mail and the Conservative Party perhaps being all the way up there in London they are totally unaware that the recent scandals in Bath, Bristol's Children's Hospital and Southmead are in England and the recent cases I mentioned including my own occurred in Gloucestershire, E.N.G.L.A.N.D!
Much Ado won't be a hit to match Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet (1996), but anyone giving the benefit of the doubt to the man who created Buffy The Vampire Slayer won't be disappointed.
WITH only three unbeaten sides left in the NFL - Pittsburgh, Kansas City and the winners of last night's Green Bay-Chicago clash - bookmakers are giving the benefit of the doubt to teams who have come back from an upset.
That incredible figure could be a blip, but equally it could be a sign that referees are at last giving the benefit of the doubt in any suspicious penalty-box challenge to the attacker.
Why did liberals so often find themselves giving the benefit of the doubt to a bunch of thugs?
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