noun wit·ness \ˈwit-nəs\

: a person who sees something (such as a crime) happen

law : a person who makes a statement in a court about what he or she knows or has seen

: a person who is present at an event (such as a wedding) and can say that it happened

Full Definition of WITNESS

:  attestation of a fact or event :  testimony
:  one that gives evidence; specifically :  one who testifies in a cause or before a judicial tribunal
:  one asked to be present at a transaction so as to be able to testify to its having taken place
:  one who has personal knowledge of something
a :  something serving as evidence or proof :  sign
b :  public affirmation by word or example of usually religious faith or conviction <the heroic witness to divine life — Pilot>
capitalized :  a member of the Jehovah's Witnesses

Examples of WITNESS

  1. The defense called its first witness to the stand.
  2. a witness for the defense
  3. His aunt and uncle were witnesses at his baptism.
  4. There must be two witnesses present when she signs the document.

Origin of WITNESS

Middle English witnesse, from Old English witnes knowledge, testimony, witness, from 2wit
First Known Use: before 12th century

Other Legal Terms

actionable, alienable, carceral, chattel, complicity, decedent, larceny, malfeasance, modus operandi

Rhymes with WITNESS



: to see (something) happen

law : to be present at (an event) in order to be able to say that it happened : to act as a legal witness of (something)

: to be the time or place when (something) happens

Full Definition of WITNESS

transitive verb
:  to testify to :  attest
:  to act as legal witness of
:  to furnish proof of :  betoken
a :  to have personal or direct cognizance of :  see for oneself <witnessed the historic event>
b :  to take note of <our grammar— witness our verb system—is a marvel of flexibility, variety, and exactitude — Charlton Laird>
:  to constitute the scene or time of <structures … which this striking Dorset hilltop once witnessedTimes Literary Supplement>
intransitive verb
:  to bear witness :  testify
:  to bear witness to one's religious convictions <opportunity to witness for Christ — Billy Graham>

Examples of WITNESS

  1. Several people witnessed the accident.
  2. We are witnessing a historic moment.
  3. He witnessed the signing of her will.

First Known Use of WITNESS

14th century
May 23, 2015
debouch Hear it
to emerge or cause to emerge
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