ev·​i·​dence | \ ˈe-və-dən(t)s How to pronounce evidence (audio) , -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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Noun 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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Led by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, the seven impeachment managers presented a mountain of evidence collected in the House's months-long investigation into the president's dealings with Ukraine. CBS News, "Impeachment trial: Democrats lay out timeline in case against Trump," 23 Jan. 2020 While there's been plenty of anecdotal evidence suggesting premature graying can be caused by extreme stress -- whether this is true and how this happens isn't widely understood. Katie Hunt, CNN, "Link between stress and hair turning prematurely gray revealed in animal study," 22 Jan. 2020 Democrats believe that adds an unnecessary layer that will essentially insulate the Senate from deciding on individual witnesses or pieces of evidence. WSJ, "Trump's Impeachment Trial—Live Analysis," 22 Jan. 2020 The rule now allows the House impeachment managers to submit all of their evidence unless the Senate objects. Susan Ferrechio, Washington Examiner, "Senate sets impeachment trial rules that postpone vote on witnesses," 22 Jan. 2020 Kriner and Schickler write that the U.S. may have arrived at time when the public, and Trump’s allies in Congress, may simply not be moved by the kinds of evidence that once caused a president’s approval ratings to decline. 4. Naomi Schalit, The Conversation, "What to think when you’re thinking about impeachment: 5 essential reads," 21 Jan. 2020 The former New York mayor was convinced Ukrainians had worked against Trump in the 2016 election and were in possession of evidence of Biden's corruption. Anchorage Daily News, "How Lev Parnas worked his way into Trump’s world - and now is rattling it," 19 Jan. 2020 Along with the findings, the police department shared a photo of the edible evidence. Fox News, "Cheese slices ‘produce great fingerprints,’ Texas police discover," 17 Jan. 2020 Many police departments have embraced the devices in recent years as a means of gathering evidence. Maria Polletta, azcentral, "Gov. Doug Ducey unveils $12.3B state spending plan with boost for police, schools," 17 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Rodgers also celebrated Christmas with Katie and family, as evidenced in a group holiday shot shared by the actress on December 25. Ashley Boucher, PEOPLE.com, "Katie Cassidy Files for Divorce from Husband Matthew Rodgers 13 Months After Florida Wedding," 9 Jan. 2020 Other researchers have also concluded that the images of bits flaking off the cyclone are not evidence the spot is dying. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Jupiter’s Great Red Spot May Not Be Dying Out Just Yet," 26 Nov. 2019 Although the 2017 state school funding revamp pulled CPS away from the brink of insolvency, the district’s finances are still shaky — as evidenced in its junk bond ratings. Hannah Leone, chicagotribune.com, "To pay for new union contracts, Lightfoot, CPS relying on duct tape — and risky assumptions about the future," 15 Nov. 2019 Whatever happened, so much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere caused a runaway greenhouse effect, evidenced in the scorching hot temperatures on the planet now. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "Venus was potentially habitable until a mysterious event happened," 20 Sep. 2019 The Raiders’ attempts to control the show’s narratives has worked well, evidenced by the fact that viewers have yet to see a single player cut. Michael Nowels, The Mercury News, "‘Hard Knocks’ awards: Antonio Brown delivers tour-de-force performance," 21 Aug. 2019 Pepper recently got into the holiday spirit, as evidenced by a sweet picture shared by the Oscar winner on Instagram, showing the pooch sporting a red sweater. Ashley Boucher, PEOPLE.com, "Reese Witherspoon Celebrates Her Bulldog Puppy Lou's First Christmas," 26 Dec. 2019 Hockey participation is growing throughout the U.S., particularly among girls, as evidenced by the San Jose Sharks’ local program, which went from two teams 15 years ago to 10 today. Taylor Kate Brown, SFChronicle.com, "Bay Briefing: Why 200 pro hockey players are sitting out the season," 24 Dec. 2019 The fellowship has a record for cultivating some of the best journalistic talent in the United States, as evidenced from our distinguished alumni. John Hirschauer, National Review, "Jingle, Jingle for the Future of Conservative Journalism," 19 Dec. 2019

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.

See More

First Known Use of evidence


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


circa 1610, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about evidence

Time Traveler for evidence

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for evidence

Last Updated

26 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Evidence.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/evidence. Accessed 26 January 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for evidence


How to pronounce evidence (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of evidence

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: something which shows that something else exists or is true
chiefly US, somewhat formal : 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)

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


ev·​i·​dence | \ ˈe-və-dəns How to pronounce evidence (audio) \

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 How to pronounce evidence (audio) \

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
evidenced; evidencing

Legal Definition of evidence (Entry 2 of 2)

: to provide evidence of

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on evidence

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


to express in a more acceptable way

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Intact Latin Quiz

  • roman tablet
  • What did focus mean in Latin?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!