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noun wit·ness \ˈwit-nəs\

Simple Definition of witness

  • : 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

  1. 1 :  attestation of a fact or event :  testimony

  2. 2 :  one that gives evidence; specifically :  one who testifies in a cause or before a judicial tribunal

  3. 3 :  one asked to be present at a transaction so as to be able to testify to its having taken place

  4. 4 :  one who has personal knowledge of something

  5. 5 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>

  6. 6 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

Rhymes with witness



verb wit·ness

Simple Definition of 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

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to testify to :  attest

  3. 2 :  to act as legal witness of

  4. 3 :  to furnish proof of :  betoken

  5. 4 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>

  6. 5 :  to constitute the scene or time of <structures … which this striking Dorset hilltop once witnessedTimes Literary Supplement>

  7. intransitive verb
  8. 1 :  to bear witness :  testify

  9. 2 :  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.

14th Century

First Known Use of witness

14th century

Synonym Discussion of witness

certify, attest, witness, vouch mean to testify to the truth or genuineness of something. certify usually applies to a written statement, especially one carrying a signature or seal <certified that the candidate had met all requirements>. attest applies to oral or written testimony usually from experts or witnesses <attested to the authenticity of the document>. witness applies to the subscribing of one's own name to a document as evidence of its genuineness <witnessed the signing of the will>. vouch applies to one who testifies as a competent authority or a reliable person <willing to vouch for her integrity>.

WITNESS Defined for Kids



noun wit·ness \ˈwit-nəs\

Definition of witness

  1. 1 :  a person who sees or otherwise has personal knowledge of something <witnesses of an accident>

  2. 2 :  a person who gives testimony in court

  3. 3 :  a person who is present at an action (as the signing of a will) so as to be able to say who did it

  4. 4 :  testimony <He gave false witness in court.>



verb wit·ness

Definition of witness


  1. 1 :  to see or gain personal knowledge of something

  2. 2 :  to act as a witness to <I witnessed the signing of the will.>

  3. 3 :  to be or give proof of <Their actions witness their guilt.>

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February 9, 2016

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