testify

verb

tes·​ti·​fy ˈte-stə-ˌfī How to pronounce testify (audio)
testified; testifying

intransitive verb

1
: to make a solemn declaration under oath for the purpose of establishing a fact (as in a court)
2
a
: to make a statement based on personal knowledge or belief : bear witness
b
: to serve as evidence or proof
3
: to express a personal conviction

transitive verb

1
a
: to bear witness to : attest
b
: to serve as evidence of : prove
2
: to declare under oath before a tribunal or officially constituted public body
3
archaic
a
: to make known (a personal conviction)
b
: to give evidence of : show
testifier noun

Example Sentences

She refused to testify about who had given her the information. She testified before Congress today. He agreed to testify against his drug dealer. He testified that he'd seen two people leave the building on the night of the murder. These statistics testify that the program is working. Several people testified during the revival meeting. See More
Recent Examples on the Web Trump is not charged in the case and is not expected to testify or attend the trial. Michael R. Sisak, Fortune, 23 Nov. 2022 Siebel Newsom has not yet taken the stand, but is expected to testify in the two-month trial. Elizabeth Wagmeister, Variety, 11 Nov. 2022 Rhodes is the second witness to testify for the defenses, which began making their cases Thursday. Ella Lee, USA TODAY, 5 Nov. 2022 Reynolds was the youngest witness to testify in the trial against Chauvin, who was found guilty of three charges in Floyd’s killing. Adrienne Broaddus, CNN, 15 Oct. 2022 Last month, Paxton reportedly fled his home in a truck driven by his wife in order to avoid being served a subpoena to testify in the lawsuit. Bynadine El-bawab, ABC News, 5 Oct. 2022 Her sister, Carlee Soto Parisi, was the second witness to testify. Janelle Griffith, NBC News, 13 Sep. 2022 Fulton County prosecutors have lost a legal skirmish to get an out-of-state witness to testify before the Fulton County special purpose grand jury investigating former President Donald Trump and his allies. Bill Rankin, ajc, 7 Sep. 2022 Meanwhile, adds The Washington Post, a federal judge on Monday denied Sen. Lindsey Graham's (R-S.C.) attempt to circumvent a subpoena to testify in the same Georgia probe. Brigid Kennedy, The Week, 15 Aug. 2022 See More

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

Word History

Etymology

Middle English testifien, from Anglo-French testifier, from Latin testificari, from testis witness

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 2a

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

Cite this Entry

“Testify.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/testify. Accessed 5 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

testify

verb

tes·​ti·​fy ˈtes-tə-ˌfī How to pronounce testify (audio)
testified; testifying
1
a
: to make a statement based on personal knowledge or belief
could testify to the student's devotion to her studies
b
: to make a formal statement of what one swears is true
testified in court
2
: to give outward proof : serve as a sign of
yawns testifying to fatigue
testifier noun

Legal Definition

testify

verb

tes·​ti·​fy ˈtes-tə-ˌfī How to pronounce testify (audio)
testified; testifying

intransitive verb

: to make a solemn declaration under oath or affirmation for the purpose of establishing a fact : give testimony

transitive verb

: to declare in testimony
testifier noun

History and Etymology for testify

Latin testificari, from testis witness

More from Merriam-Webster on testify

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