circumstantial evidence


Definition of circumstantial evidence

: evidence that tends to prove a fact by proving other events or circumstances which afford a basis for a reasonable inference of the occurrence of the fact at issue

Examples of circumstantial evidence in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

And circumstantial evidence also tenuously links them to a mysterious entity that — back in March 2019 — very quietly paid $26.5 million for a historic mansion in San Francisco’s searingly expensive Presidio Heights neighborhood. Variety, The Mercury News, "Uber co-founder pays all-time high price for $72.5 million Beverly Hills estate," 3 July 2019 But a defense attorney denied that his client caused the crash, claiming that the prosecution’s case was based entirely on circumstantial evidence and a shoddy police investigation. Ramona Sentinel, "Trial starts in crash that killed pregnant woman," 3 July 2019 These were crucial bits of circumstantial evidence, and investigators needed as many of them as possible. Stephanie Clifford, WIRED, "He Cyberstalked Teen Girls for Years—Then They Fought Back," 24 June 2019 That strongly suggests that our ancestors had much to do with it; murderers have been convicted on weaker circumstantial evidence. Jared Diamond, New York Times, "A Brand-New Version of Our Origin Story," 20 Apr. 2018 One of Interval's lawyers, Jamie Jackson, said the circumstantial evidence is really just speculation. Lauren Castle, azcentral, "Robert Interval Jr. sentenced to 25 years in prison in girlfriend's death, despite lack of body," 18 Oct. 2017 Their defense attorneys argued the case was built on weak and circumstantial evidence. Washington Post, "Hawaii power couple convicted in plot to frame a relative," 28 June 2019 Walters and Wright relied heavily on circumstantial evidence to argue that Warren conspired and hid the two men, who have since been deported. Bob Ortega, CNN, "No verdict in controversial border aid case," 11 June 2019 Owens said other circumstantial evidence supports the charges, including corroborating evidence from spouses, friends and law enforcement. Brent Schrotenboer, USA TODAY, "Closing arguments in Kellen Winslow rape trial: 'You hold this man's life in your hands'," 30 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'circumstantial evidence.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of circumstantial evidence

1736, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

18 Jul 2019

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The first known use of circumstantial evidence was in 1736

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More Definitions for circumstantial evidence

circumstantial evidence

Legal Definition of circumstantial evidence

see evidence

More from Merriam-Webster on circumstantial evidence Encyclopedia article about circumstantial evidence

Comments on circumstantial evidence

What made you want to look up circumstantial evidence? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to form ideas or theories about something

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