evidence

1 of 2

noun

ev·​i·​dence ˈe-və-dən(t)s How to pronounce evidence (audio)
-və-ˌden(t)s
1
a
: 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

evidence

2 of 2

verb

evidenced; evidencing

transitive verb

: to offer evidence of : prove, evince
Phrases
in evidence
1
: to be seen : conspicuous
trim lawns … are everywhere in evidenceAmer. Guide Series: N.C.
2
: as evidence
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
The agency did not identify a possible motive or provide details about evidence that helped identify Dale Warner as a suspect. Tim Stelloh, NBC News, 23 Nov. 2023 The president's son and brother James received subpoenas last week as Republicans look to gain ground in their nearly yearlong investigation, which has so failed to uncover evidence directly implicating the president in any wrongdoing. CBS News, 22 Nov. 2023 In Bruen, the Supreme Court voted 6-3 to strike down a century-old New York state law requiring that any applicant for a handgun carrying permit show evidence of a personal safety risk. Salvador Rizzo, Washington Post, 21 Nov. 2023 The suspects were questioned and police confiscated evidence from their homes, dpa reported. Bradford Betz, Fox News, 21 Nov. 2023 Some evidence suggested that one bear, perhaps more than one, had crossed to the east side of the Connecticut River for the first time. Jessica Francis Kane, Harper's Magazine, 20 Nov. 2023 Our Coverage of the Israel-Hamas War Al-Shifa Hospital: Israel is trying to produce evidence for its claim that Hamas has been using tunnels under Gaza’s largest hospital as a command center. Michael Levenson, New York Times, 20 Nov. 2023 Villanueva previously claimed, without evidence, that Gascón had delayed announcing decisions not to charge deputies in shootings and excessive force cases in order to hurt the sheriff’s reelection chances. James Queally, Los Angeles Times, 20 Nov. 2023 Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said that, even though Iran funds Hamas, there is no direct evidence that Iran was involved in its surprise attack on Israel last month. NBC News, 10 Nov. 2023
Verb
This street course seemed more conducive to passing than others, as evidenced by the greater number of lead changes than most of the contests this season. Viju Mathew, Robb Report, 19 Nov. 2023 This is a difficult period for media at large, as evidenced by all the restructurings and changes across the sector. Todd Spangler, Variety, 9 Nov. 2023 Best Nordstrom Early Black Friday Deals Champagne is both for celebratory popping and deep conditioning your hair, as evidenced by the champagne extract in Cuvee Beauty’s Premiere Treatment Masque. Angela Trakoshis, Allure, 9 Nov. 2023 Clearly Céline is not the only star in the family, as evidenced by these cute matching Christmas jammies. People Staff, Peoplemag, 3 Nov. 2023 The script, which sticks close to the book, pokes timely holes in a strain of American mythology whose dismantling is overdue and, as evidenced by lesser filmmakers’ eagerness to repackage it wholesale, incomplete. Andrew Marzoni, The New Republic, 3 Nov. 2023 Yet that could merely reflect the dominance of Google in consumers’ minds, as evidenced by the evolution of the brand name into a generic term for web searching. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 2 Nov. 2023 And she’s not nearly done, as evidenced by her willingness to take risks and shake up her routine instead of falling into the tempting but dangerous trap of complacency. Helene Elliott, Los Angeles Times, 27 Oct. 2023 Her hand is undeniably romantic and feminine, as evidenced by the intricate but not overworked shirring and draping in her spring collection. José Criales-Unzueta, Vogue, 23 Oct. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'evidence.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

Noun

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

Verb

circa 1610, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near evidence

Cite this Entry

“Evidence.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/evidence. Accessed 28 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition

evidence

1 of 2 noun
ev·​i·​dence ˈev-əd-ən(t)s How to pronounce evidence (audio)
-ə-ˌden(t)s
1
: an outward sign : indication
evidence of the life of ancient people
gave no evidence that he was going to bunt
2
: material presented to a court to help find the truth in a matter

evidence

2 of 2 verb
evidenced; evidencing
: to be or give evidence of : prove

Legal Definition

evidence

1 of 2 noun
ev·​i·​dence ˈe-və-dəns, -ˌdens How to pronounce evidence (audio)
: 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
: 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.

: 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
: best evidence in this entry
: 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.

evidence

2 of 2 transitive verb
evidenced; evidencing
: to provide evidence of
Etymology

Noun

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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