mid-15c., "the proving or finding of guilt of an offense charged," from Late Latin convictionem (nominative convictio) "proof, refutation," noun of action from past-participle stem of convincere "to overcome decisively," from com-, here perhaps an intensive prefix (see com-), + vincere "to conquer" (from nasalized form of PIE root *weik- (3) "to fight, conquer").
Meaning "mental state of being convinced or fully persuaded" is from 1690s; that of "firm belief, a belief held as proven" is from 1841. In a religious sense, "state of being convinced one has acted in opposition to conscience, admonition of the conscience," from 1670s.
"compelling assent or conviction," 1650s, from French cogent "necessary, urgent" (14c.), from Latin cogentem (nominative cogens), present participle of cogere "to curdle; to compel; to collect," literally "to drive together," from assimilated form of com "together" (see co-) + agere "to set in motion, drive, drive forward; to do, perform" (from PIE root *ag- "to drive, draw out or forth, move"). Related: Cogently.
"evident in itself without proof or reasoning; producing clear conviction upon a bare presentation to the mind," 1680s, from self- + evident. First in Locke's "Essay Concerning Human Understanding." In Jefferson's rough draft of the American Declaration of Independence (1776), the word is written, in Franklin's handwriting, in place of the stricken out phrase sacred and undeniable. Related: Self-evidently; self-evidence; self-evidencing (1650s).
I have adopted this new term with considerable hesitation and doubt, and have only done so under the pressure of necessity. In no other way can I better convey my conviction that there is a traceable correspondence between all manifestations of decline in the individual and in the group to which the individual belongs, which may, like embryology, be used inductively in reasoning upon the probable affinities of animals. [A. Hyatt, paper on "Genetic Relations of Stephanoceras," read June 7, 1876, published in Proceedings of the Boston Society of Natural History, vol. xviii, 1877]
late 12c., bileave, "confidence reposed in a person or thing; faith in a religion," replacing Old English geleafa "belief, faith," from West Germanic *ga-laubon "to hold dear, esteem, trust" (source also of Old Saxon gilobo, Middle Dutch gelove, Old High German giloubo, German Glaube), from *galaub- "dear, esteemed," from intensive prefix *ga- + PIE root *leubh- "to care, desire, love." The prefix was altered on analogy of the verb believe. The distinction of the final consonant from that of believe developed 15c.
The be-, which is not a natural prefix of nouns, was prefixed on the analogy of the vb. (where it is naturally an intensive) .... [OED]
Meaning "conviction of the truth of a proposition or alleged fact without knowledge" is by 1530s; it is also "sometimes used to include the absolute conviction or certainty which accompanies knowledge" [Century Dictionary]. From c. 1200 as "a creed, essential doctrines of a religion or church, things held to be true as a matter of religious doctrine;" the general sense of "That which is believed" is by 1714. Related: Beliefs.
Belief meant "trust in God," while faith meant "loyalty to a person based on promise or duty" (a sense preserved in keep one's faith, in good (or bad) faith, and in common usage of faithful, faithless, which contain no notion of divinity). But faith, as cognate of Latin fides, took on the religious sense beginning in 14c. translations, and belief had by 16c. become limited to "mental acceptance of something as true," from the religious use in the sense of "things held to be true as a matter of religious doctrine."
also cheese-cake, mid-15c., from cheese (n.1) + cake (n.). Originally a cake or tart containing cheese, later one made with sweetened soft curds, etc. It was used figuratively for "soft, effeminate" from 18c.
The modern slang meaning dates from 1933; a "Time" magazine article from 1934 defined it as "leg-pictures of sporty females." In its early years this sense of the word often was associated with Marlene Dietrich. "A number of fanciful theories about its origins have been put forward, none of which carry sufficient conviction to bear repeating" [John Ayto, "The Diner's Dictionary"].
Meaning "causing infamy" is from 1550s. As a legal term, "disqualified from certain rights of citizens because of conviction for certain crimes" (late 14c.). The neutral fameless (in the sense original to infamous) is recorded from 1590s. Related: Infamously.
by 1936; popular from 1969 (with added pig (n.) by 1970); a specialized use of chauvinism, which in late 19c. international Communist Party jargon was extended to racism and in the next generation to sexism:
In this era, inspired by the CP's struggle against racism, women in the CP coined the term male chauvinism, in a parallel with white chauvinism, to derogate the conviction of men that they were better than women. [Jane Mansbridge and Katherine Flaster, "Male Chauvinist, Feminist, and Sexual Harassment, Different Trajectories in Feminist Linguistic Innovation," "American Speech," vol. lxxx, no. 3, Fall 2005]
Related: Male-chauvinism (1969).
late 14c., "indestructible, unable to be loosened," also figuratively, of problems, etc., "incapable of being solved or explained," from Old French insoluble or directly from Latin insolubilis "that cannot be loosened," from in- "not" (see in- (1)) + solubilis "that can be loosened" (see soluble).
It was a tacit conviction of the learned during the Middle Ages that no such thing as an insoluble question existed. There might be matters that presented serious difficulties, but if you could lay them before the right man -- some Arab in Spain, for instance, omniscient by reason of studies into the details of which it was better not to inquire -- he would give you a conclusive answer. The real trouble was only to find your man. [Gertrude Bell, "The Desert and the Sown," 1907]
Meaning "incapable of being dissolved in a liquid" is from 1713.