ev·i·dence | \ ˈe-və-dən(t)s , -və-ˌden(t)s \

Definition of evidence 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : an outward sign : indication

b : something that furnishes proof : testimony specifically : something legally submitted to a tribunal to ascertain the truth of a matter

2 : one who bears witness especially : one who voluntarily confesses a crime and testifies for the prosecution against one's accomplices

in evidence

1 : to be seen : conspicuous trim lawns … are everywhere in evidenceAmer. Guide Series: N.C.

2 : as evidence


evidenced; evidencing

Definition of evidence (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to offer evidence of : prove, evince

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Choose the Right Synonym for evidence


show, manifest, evidence, evince, demonstrate mean to reveal outwardly or make apparent. show is the general term but sometimes implies that what is revealed must be gained by inference from acts, looks, or words. careful not to show his true feelings manifest implies a plainer, more immediate revelation. manifested musical ability at an early age evidence suggests serving as proof of the actuality or existence of something. a commitment evidenced by years of loyal service evince implies a showing by outward marks or signs. evinced not the slightest fear demonstrate implies showing by action or by display of feeling. demonstrated their approval by loud applause

Examples of evidence in a Sentence


There is no evidence that these devices actually work. He has been unable to find evidence to support his theory. Investigators could find no evidence linking him to the crime. The jury had a great deal of evidence to sort through before reaching a verdict. There is not a scrap of evidence in her favor. Anything you say may be used as evidence against you.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Anti-poverty advocates cite the lack of health insurance for more than 25 million Americans as evidence that far more people suffer from material deprivation. Jeff Stein And Tracy Jan, chicagotribune.com, "White House declares war on poverty 'largely over' amid push to revamp social programs," 14 July 2018 The unintended consequences of a trade war today might be catastrophic, but please do not cite early American history as evidence that anti-tariff sentiments made America great. WSJ, "Tariffs Helped the U.S. Economy Find Its Legs," 13 July 2018 But Republicans eager to undermine Mueller's investigation berated Strzok, citing the texts as evidence of partisan bias within a law enforcement agency supposed to steer clear of politics. Author: Eric Tucker, Mary Clare Jalonick, Anchorage Daily News, "FBI agent clashes with GOP at hearing on Russia probe," 13 July 2018 Surveillance footage recorded a suspect taking the bike and was turned over to police as evidence. Austen Erblat, Sun-Sentinel.com, "West Boca crime log: June 23-July 1," 13 July 2018 Yesterday, Trump tweeted out a letter from Kim lavishing praise on him, as evidence that his delusion is reality. Andrew Sullivan, Daily Intelligencer, "Did Trump Just Help Stop Brexit?," 13 July 2018 Her lawyers contend that texts purportedly showing Carter’s compassion toward her friend were never presented as evidence. Jeff Truesdell, PEOPLE.com, "Mass. Teen Who Urged Boyfriend to Kill Himself in Texts Says It Was Free Speech, Not Crime," 12 July 2018 Republicans including President Donald Trump have seized upon Strzok’s texts - which included allusions to stopping Trump - as evidence of a biased and even corrupt law enforcement investigation. Aaron Blake, BostonGlobe.com, "6 key moments from Peter Strzok’s wild hearing," 12 July 2018 Republicans including President Trump have seized upon Strzok's texts — which included allusions to stopping Trump — as evidence of a biased and even corrupt law enforcement investigation. Aaron Blake, Washington Post, "3 key moments from Peter Strzok’s wild hearing," 12 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

That desire for legal authority over women didn’t go away with Roe, as evidenced by the political obsession with our most intimate decisions. Jill Filipovic, Time, "It's Naive to Think a Conservative Supreme Court Wouldn't Target Roe v. Wade," 12 July 2018 That particular tragedy continues to this day, as evidenced by the recent protests at Standing Rock, the same reservation where Sitting Bull was killed more than a century prior. Justin Chang, latimes.com, "Jessica Chastain plays the artist who painted Sitting Bull in the inert history lesson 'Woman Walks Ahead'," 28 June 2018 As evidenced by the fact that the company made the list of Cincinnati’s Top Workplaces every year since 2013, their efforts are paying off. Jessica Levy, Cincinnati.com, "Quality furniture helps students thrive at School Outfitters," 8 June 2018 And even those experienced with animals can face the threat, as evidenced by a 28-year-old grizzly bear researcher who was mauled by a bear while working alone near a stream in the Cabinet Mountains of Montana on May 17. Lindsay Kimble, PEOPLE.com, "Summer Has Arrived — Here's How to Avoid Flesh-Eating Bacteria & More Warm Weather Health Hazards," 5 June 2018 Meanwhile, Kate found her father-in-law's situation to be quite hysterical as evidenced by her giggling in the background. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Kate Middleton Couldn't Stop Laughing at Prince Charles's Wardrobe Malfunction at the RAF Flypast," 10 July 2018 Camille might be living in sometime circa 2008, as evidenced by the Obama campaign poster in her St. Louis apartment and her ever-present iPod, but the ghosts of her violent past are sitting right there with her. refinery29.com, "Sharp Objects Review: It’s Exactly What You Need During The Big Little Lies Drought," 5 July 2018 There’s also evidence that tipping culture adversely impacts women and people of color in particular. Mark Kurlyandchik, Detroit Free Press, "A fight is brewing in Michigan over restaurant tips," 8 June 2018 The starters, evidenced thus far by OTA workouts: Al Woods will man the nose tackle spot, and new signee Denico Autry looks to be the (early) man to beat at defensive tackle. Zak Keefer, Indianapolis Star, "Insider: Two under-the-radar additions hope to find new life on Colts defensive line," 4 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word '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 evidence


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


circa 1610, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for evidence


Medieval Latin evidentia, from Latin, that which is obvious, from evident-, evidens clear, obvious, from e- out of, from + videns, present participle of videre to see

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Dictionary Entries near evidence

Evian water







Statistics for evidence

Last Updated

21 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for evidence

The first known use of evidence was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for evidence



English Language Learners Definition of evidence

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: something which shows that something else exists or is true

: a visible sign of something

: material that is presented to a court of law to help find the truth about something



English Language Learners Definition of evidence (Entry 2 of 2)

: to offer or show evidence of (something) : to show or indicate (something)


ev·i·dence | \ ˈe-və-dəns \

Kids Definition of evidence

1 : a sign which shows that something exists or is true : indication They found evidence of a robbery.

2 : material presented to a court to help find the truth about something


ev·i·dence | \ ˈe-və-dəns, -ˌdens \

Legal Definition of evidence 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: something that furnishes or tends to furnish proof especially : something (as testimony, writings, or objects) presented at a judicial or administrative proceeding for the purpose of establishing the truth or falsity of an alleged matter of fact — see also admissible, best evidence rule, exclusionary rule, exhibit, foundation, objection, preponderance of the evidence, relevant, scintilla, state's evidence, suppress, testimony, witness, Federal Rules of Evidence — compare allegation, argument, proof

best evidence

: evidence that is the most reliable and most direct in relationship to what it is offered to prove — see also best evidence rule

character evidence

: evidence of a particular human trait (as honesty or peacefulness) of a party or witness — see also character witness at witness

Note: Under the Federal Rules of Evidence, character evidence generally may not be used to prove that a person acted in accordance with that character. It is admissible for that purpose, however, if a criminal defendant offers it about himself or herself or about the victim, or if the prosecution offers evidence to rebut the defendant's evidence in either of those circumstances. The prosecution may also rebut a claim of self-defense by presenting evidence of the peaceful character of the victim. Additionally, the character of a witness with regard to truthfulness may be attacked or supported by opinion or by evidence of reputation.

circumstantial evidence

: evidence that tends to prove a factual matter by proving other events or circumstances from which the occurrence of the matter at issue can be reasonably inferred — compare direct evidence in this entry

clear and convincing evidence

: evidence showing a high probability of truth of the factual matter at issue — compare preponderance of the evidence, reasonable doubt

communicative evidence \kə-ˈmyü-nə-kə-tiv-, -ˌkā-tiv- \

: testimonial evidence in this entry

competent evidence

: evidence that is admissible, relevant, and material to the factual matter at issue

corroborating evidence

: evidence that is independent of and different from but that supplements and strengthens evidence already presented as proof of a factual matter

called also corroborative evidence

— compare cumulative evidence in this entry

cumulative evidence

: evidence that is of the same kind as evidence already offered as proof of the same factual matter — compare corroborating evidence in this entry

demonstrative evidence

: evidence in the form of objects (as maps, diagrams, or models) that has in itself no probative value but is used to illustrate and clarify the factual matter at issue broadly : physical evidence in this entry

called also illustrative evidence

derivative evidence

: evidence obtained as a result of the unlawful gathering of primary evidence

called also indirect evidence, secondary evidence

— see also fruit of the poisonous tree

direct evidence

: evidence that if believed immediately establishes the factual matter to be proved by it without the need for inferences especially : evidence of a factual matter offered by a witness whose knowledge of the matter was obtained through the use of his or her senses (as sight or hearing) — compare circumstantial evidence in this entry

evidence in chief

: evidence that is to be used by a party in making its case in chief

exculpatory evidence

: evidence that tends to clear a defendant from fault or guilt — see also brady material

Note: The prosecution in a criminal case is obligated to disclose to the defense any exculpatory evidence in its possession.

extrinsic evidence

1 : evidence regarding an agreement that is not included in the written version of the agreement

Note: A court may use extrinsic evidence to make sense of an ambiguity in a writing subject to some limitations.

2 : evidence about a witness's character obtained from the testimony of other witnesses rather than from cross-examination of the witness himself or herself

Note: A witness may not be impeached by the use of extrinsic evidence.

hearsay evidence

: a statement made out of court and not under oath and offered in evidence as proof that what is stated is true : hearsay

illustrative evidence

: demonstrative evidence in this entry

impeachment evidence

: evidence that may be used to impeach a witness because it tends to harm the witness's credibility

indirect evidence

: derivative evidence in this entry

intrinsic evidence

: evidence that exists within a writing the will contains ample intrinsic evidence of the testator's intentStoner v. Custer, 251 N.E.2d 668 (1968) — compare extrinsic evidence in this entry

material evidence

: evidence that is likely to affect the determination of a matter or issue specifically : evidence that warrants reopening of a claim or reversal of a conviction because but for the circumstance that the evidence was unavailable the outcome of the first proceeding would have been different

no evidence

: evidence presented that is insufficient to prove a matter of especially vital fact : a point of error that insufficient evidence has been presented to support a finding

parol evidence

: evidence of matters spoken (as an oral agreement) that are related to but not included in a writing — see also parol evidence rule

physical evidence

: tangible evidence (as a weapon, document, or visible injury) that is in some way related to the incident that gave rise to the case

called also real evidence

— compare demonstrative evidence and testimonial evidence in this entry

presumptive evidence

: prima facie evidence in this entry

prima facie evidence

: evidence that is sufficient to prove a factual matter at issue and justify a favorable judgment on that issue unless rebutted

primary evidence

1 : best evidence in this entry

2 : evidence obtained as a direct result of an unlawful search

real evidence

: physical evidence in this entry

rebuttal evidence

: evidence that tends to refute or discredit an opponent's evidence

relevant evidence

: evidence that tends to prove or disprove any issue of fact that is of consequence to the case

secondary evidence

: derivative evidence in this entry

substantial evidence

: evidence greater than a scintilla of evidence that a reasonable person would find sufficient to support a conclusion

substantive evidence

: evidence offered to prove a factual issue rather than merely for impeachment

testimonial evidence

: evidence given in writing or speech or in another way that expresses the person's thoughts — compare physical evidence in this entry

Note: Only testimonial evidence is protected by the Fifth Amendment's privilege against self-incrimination.

in evidence

: as evidence introduced a letter in evidence


transitive verb
evidenced; evidencing

Legal Definition of evidence (Entry 2 of 2)

: to provide evidence of

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