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

Scratching below the surface, there's no evidence to justify these theories. Salvador Rizzo, chicagotribune.com, "There is an unfounded conspiracy theory about the Supreme Court and Trump Tower Chicago," 14 July 2018 In a previous statement, police said there was no evidence that Sturgess or Rowley visited any of the sites that were decontaminated after the poisoning of the Skripals. NBC News, "British police determine source of nerve agent that poisoned couple," 13 July 2018 For the remaining 340,000-plus lost to the purge, there is no definitive evidence that each were bought by Lewis. Katherine Fominykh, baltimoresun.com, "Former Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis lost about half his followers in Twitter's fake account purge," 13 July 2018 The victim's parents later reported the incident to police, claiming red marks on the teen's neck were evidence he was assaulted. Michael Saponara, Billboard, "6ix9ine Denied Bail Following NYC Arrest, Deemed Flight Risk," 13 July 2018 What’s more, there is evidence some of those diagnosed as depressed are, at baseline, simply burned out. Philip Chard, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Burnout reflects a conflict between our inner calling and what we have to do," 13 July 2018 Armando Carbajal, a Phoenix police spokesman, said there is evidence that the man had previously been treated at the VA hospital. Arizona Republic, azcentral, "Police: Man shoots self inside Phoenix veterans hospital chapel, is 'extremely critical'," 13 July 2018 Federal prosecutors said there was no evidence Steve or Andy Beshear ever knew anything about Longmeyer’s prolonged conspiracy. Tom Loftus, The Courier-Journal, "Andy Beshear's 'tainted' donations may be more than what's in his fund," 11 July 2018 The basic premise that paying an elite high school basketball player to attend a particular college is evidence of criminal conduct should not be accepted as a given or as an absolute truth. Michael Mccann, SI.com, "Why Maryland Receiving FBI Subpoenas Should Worry Other College Programs, Basketball Players," 7 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Because of the heated rivalry, there wouldn't appear to be a lot of love between the two, as evidenced in this somewhat-NSFW photo: But they are set to be teammates, nonetheless. The Heat Index, azcentral, "Los Angeles Lakers surrounding LeBron James with hilarious cast," 2 July 2018 The Chiefs seem very cocky at the moment, as evidenced by Matt Miller's piece here. Sam Mellinger, kansascity, "Mellinger Minutes: Trump kicks the NFL, Chiefs fans are cocky (?) and Mahomes' endorsements," 5 June 2018 Rosters are too big, and players outside of the top tier are too replaceable for teams to go that far, which is evidenced in the way coaches and GMs churn players in-season. Albert Breer, SI.com, "Pat Shurmur Believes In Eli Manning. Will the Giants Believe Too?," 10 May 2018 At the same time, Birch was capable of surprising tenderness, evidenced by his watercolors of Springland, his country place in Bucks County, and of nearby Andalusia. Edith Newhall, Philly.com, "The Library Company and Free Library unpack their treasures for two must-see exhibits," 28 June 2018 That's evidenced by a series of the raw proteins known as hwe at the top of her focused menu. Mike Sula, Chicago Reader, "Andersonville’s Passerotto is a tale of two peninsulas," 21 June 2018 His expertise is evidenced in his ongoing role as adjunct professor of Sports Administration at Lasell College. Courant Community, "Community News For The Windsor Locks Edition," 19 June 2018 That's evidenced by the difficulty in narrowing down its player pool to an ideal starting XI. Grant Wahl, SI.com, "Lothar Matthaus Names His Top Germany Starting Lineup–Including Leroy Sane," 15 June 2018 This was evidenced at last month’s RDC Spring Event, which was held in Dallas and attended by approximately 150 relocation directors from around the country. Michelle Sandlin, Houston Chronicle, "On the Move: Houston leadership plays key role in Relocation Directors Council Event," 10 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

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Learn More about evidence

Dictionary Entries near evidence

Evian water







Statistics for evidence

Last Updated

2 Nov 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

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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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).


something that serves to warn or remind

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