tes·​ti·​mo·​ni·​al | \ˌte-stə-ˈmō-nē-əl, -nyəl\

Definition of testimonial 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a statement testifying to benefits received

b : a character reference : letter of recommendation

2 : an expression of appreciation : tribute



Definition of testimonial (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : of, relating to, or constituting testimony

2 : expressive of appreciation or esteem a testimonial dinner

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Did You Know?


In 1639, Scottish poet William Drummond responded to the political scene of his day by writing a facetious set of new laws, among them that "no man wear a . . . periwig, unless he have a testimonial from a town-clerk, that he is either bald, sickly, or asham'd of white hairs." Testimonials take different forms, but always, like in Drummond's recommended law, they provide affirmation or evidence. (Our word traces to Latin testimonium, meaning "evidence, witness.") In the 19th century, a gift presented to someone as a public expression of appreciation for service rendered became the newest version of a testimonial. Then, it was likely to be a statue or portrait. In the 20th century, we came up with testimonial dinners to show our appreciation or esteem. Testimonials (usually solicited) that endorse products or services are also a 20th-century phenomenon.

Examples of testimonial in a Sentence


He received a glowing testimonial from his former employer. her performance in this tournament has been a testimonial to the dedication and talent she brings to the tennis court

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Aaron Samuels)—to re-create the classic scene in which students at North Shore High School give testimonials about Regina George. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "The First Trailer for Ariana Grande's 'Thank U, Next' Video Is a Mean Girls Tribute," 27 Nov. 2018 The ads, which to date have largely featured testimonials about the benefits of universal healthcare, have been mostly targeted at women between the ages of 55 and 64 in Arkansas, and mostly male Kansans under the age of 44, Madrigal reports. Casey Newton, The Verge, "A new kind of dark money on Facebook is influencing elections," 18 Oct. 2018 While most of their testimonials weren’t heavy on tech specs, there were some common threads. Lauren Goode, WIRED, "Apple's MacBook Pros Get Faster Chips, New Keyboards (Kinda)," 12 July 2018 In 2010, more Bard students helped digitize them as well as gather testimonials from past participants, which were posted on Joanie4Jackie.com. Bridget Read, Vogue, "Miranda July Talks #MeToo, Tech, and Joanie4Jackie," 16 Oct. 2018 The first-person testimonials are user-generated—any FertileGirl member can submit their story—but the content experts contribute is carefully vetted, says Kasirer. . Natalie Lampert, Marie Claire, "Why Women Reeling From Miscarriage Are Turning to the Web," 1 Oct. 2018 Perhaps to even things out, the website of Burnham Construction also has a few random photos of Bo performing amid the customer testimonials. Belinda Luscombe, Time, "How Bo Burnham Turns Anxiety Into a Work of Art," 12 July 2018 But the three testimonials that are featured are an indication of Rauner’s continued effort to try to unify a Republican base focused on Downstate Illinois. Chicago Tribune Staff, chicagotribune.com, "Morning Spin: Ex-federal prosecutor to review Illinois House operations after harassment, bullying claims," 19 June 2018 Both supporters and opponents bolster their arguments with testimonials, such as the two that follow. Stephanie Armour, WSJ, "Two Women Spotlight Two Sides of Abortion Debate," 13 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Sandberg gave the testimonial equivalent of the shruggy emoji. Peter Kafka, Recode, "Jack Dorsey survived his grueling day in D.C.," 5 Sep. 2018 Similarly, his concert was less a victory lap than a testimonial to a career defined by a restless musical search. Greg Kot, chicagotribune.com, "Paul Simon still searching after all these years," 7 June 2018 In a conversation Archine recorded, Boutte asked her to make a one-minute testimonial to come to her defense on social media. Terah Boyd, ajc, "Women say Gwinnett doctor invaded privacy with online video, photos," 4 June 2018 Andrea Pirlo's testimonial, despite all eight of the first half goals, just hasn't seemed to be enough. SI.com, "Wait, What? Twitter Gets Really Confused as Monday May 21 Sees a Night of Big Change at Arsenal," 21 May 2018 Don’t Last Always—suggesting that album title was a testimonial. Peter Margasak, Chicago Reader, "Luke Winslow-King has left New Orleans for his native Michigan, but the sound of the Crescent City still resonates in his music," 21 June 2018 These dishes, among the others featured in the cookbook, serve as delicious testimonial that Foreign Cinema, much like the Mission itself, remains a vibrantly diverse Bay Area destination that is continuing to evolve. Sarah Fritsche, SFChronicle.com, "Cook upscale Mission-style at home with ‘Foreign Cinema Cookbook’," 17 June 2018 Indeed, the company provided links to several sections where users can edit or add a testimonial to their websites. Matthew Walberg, chicagotribune.com, "Reese Mathers, the most satisfied consumer in the world?," 11 May 2018 After decades of carrying around testimonial letters from disease hunters and trying to get articles published in journals, Dorman’s arguments and those of his supporters are online videos now, laying out the case. Adam Rogers, WIRED, "The Man Who Says Science Blew Its Best Shot at an AIDS Vaccine," 1 June 2018

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


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

10 Dec 2018

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The first known use of testimonial was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for testimonial



English Language Learners Definition of testimonial

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: relating to testimony and especially to legal testimony



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

: a written or spoken statement in which you say that you used a product or service and liked it

: a written or spoken statement that praises someone's work, skill, character, etc.

: an event at which someone is honored

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