What Does Leap of Faith Mean?

Take a Leap of Faith Meaning

Definition: To believe in something or someone based on faith rather than evidence; an attempt to achieve something that has little chance of success.

Origin of Leap of Faith

This idiom first appeared in the mid-1800s. However, it shot up in popularity around the mid-1900s. It comes from a translation of the Latin words saltus fidei.

The Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard came up with this expression as a metaphor for religious belief in God. He argued that God was spiritual rather than physical and was completely separate from the material world of man. Therefore, God could not be understood through science or logic. One could only understand God through faith alone.

Despite these religious origins, the idiom is now used in everyday conversation. For example, someone could use this expression to signify that he or she is taking a risk and merely hoping for the best.

Examples of Leap of Faith

definition of leap of faithThe dialogue below shows two friends discussing a decision that one of them must make.

Giuseppe: I’m not sure what I should do. I now have an opportunity to switch careers. If I switch, I’ll finally be doing what I have wanted to do my whole life. However, switching will also mean accepting a much lower salary. And there’s no guarantee that I’ll like the job as much as I hope I will.

May: You’re right. There’s no way to know for certain if you will be successful or if you will regret taking the new job.

Giuseppe: I really want to try this new job, despite the risks.

May: Then you should do it! Take a leap of faith. If you fail, at least you will have tried. If you don’t do it, you’ll always wonder what would have happened if you tried.

define leap of faithIn the dialogue below, a father is talking to his daughter about trying new food.

Rafal: Vesna, I made this special meal for you. This was my favorite meal when I was a boy. My grandmother and mother always made it for me. I want you to try it.

Vesna: Yuck! It looks gross!

Rafal: Well, I can’t promise that you’ll like the taste. However, I would appreciate it if you at least gave it a chance. Take a leap of faith, and you might actually enjoy it. The worst that can happen is you eat one bite and never have to try it again.

More Examples

This excerpt is from an article about unusual architecture in Seattle.

  • “It’s exciting when we take a leap of faith and build something differently. Sometimes it can get a little shy, but every so often, with a little push, Seattle does something out of the box,” said Way. –New York Post

The second excerpt is from an article about surprise vacations, in which you travel to an unknown destination.

  • “It is a completely different way of seeing the world, simply taking a leap of faith and seeing where you end up,” he said. “The thought of arriving at the airport with no idea where you are heading until you check in is so exciting.” –Houston Chronicle


The phrase a leap of faith means a risk with no guarantee of success or trust in God that isn’t based on empirical evidence.