If I want to argue against something commonly accepted to be true, can I say:

While common credence dictates that eight hours of uninterrupted sleep is absolutely essential, recent studies have shown that sleeping less and more often is more beneficial.

Does the structure "While common credence dictates...it is actually..." make sense?

Because, all the example uses I have seen of the word "credence" seem to make it appear like it isn't something that is owned by someone (like common sense, which is what I'm after,) but rather it is something that an idea/theory has.

Is there a better word/phrase I can use? Or does this one after all make sense?

  • It's just an obnoxious word for "belief". If you want another word consult a thesaurus.
    – Hot Licks
    Mar 30, 2017 at 23:29
  • If "common sense" can dictate, and "common decency" can dictate, then why shouldn't "common credence" be able to dictate?
    – WS2
    Mar 30, 2017 at 23:48
  • "While the expert opinion is that..." Mar 31, 2017 at 1:08
  • @mahmudkoya originally I had "common opinion," i want it to convey "of the masses" rather than "of the experts."
    – minseong
    Mar 31, 2017 at 1:10
  • Then, while the common opinion/belief is that... won't be OK? Mar 31, 2017 at 1:46

3 Answers 3


In my opinion the word that should come out is "dictate" rather than credence.

a. Acceptance as true or valid; belief: I wouldn't put too much credence in that story. See Synonyms at belief.
American Heritage Dictionary

So better to have "While common credence is that eight hours..."

If you don't want to use "credence", you can use either:
conventional wisdom
popular belief

While 'conventional wisdom'/'popular belief' is that eight hours of uninterrupted sleep is absolutely essential, recent studies have shown that sleeping less and more often is more beneficial.

conventional wisdom
A generally accepted theory or belief.
Oxford Living Dictionaries

the generally accepted belief, opinion, judgment, or prediction about a particular matter
Merriam-Webster Dictionary

"Contrary to popular belief" is a common expression. "Popular opinion" by itself didn't seem to give results from many dictionaries, however "Contrary to popular belief" has at least the following dictionaries giving its definition

Collins English Dictionary
Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Links to Wikipedia articles on both:
Conventional wisdom

Popular belief


I think accepted belief or folk wisdom might fit here, although the word dictate would probably be better replaced by has it that, maintains that or suggests.

I did a search for common credence in Sketch Engine's 20 billion-word EnTenTen corpus (a cleaned up web corpus) and in the British National Corpus. Neither showed even a single occurrence of this collocation.

Other than the fact that it is not familiar usage and that there are alternatives available, I can't see anything wrong with it. But if you do use it I suggest you do so with one of the alternatives to dictate, which seems too strong to me for the meaning you have specified.

Sketch Engine


"Credence" is now pretty much exclusively used in the phrase "give/lend credence to", meaning "to provide evidence that something is true". Even there it's (IMO) a bit cliched. I'd avoid it altogether.

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