tes·​ti·​mo·​ni·​al | \ ˌte-stə-ˈmō-nē-əl How to pronounce testimonial (audio) , -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

After the moves, bends and stretches, visitors enjoyed breakfast, testimonials, and were invited to a large craft table. Sue Ellen Ross, Post-Tribune, "Cancer suvivors celebrate with testimonials, activities," 7 June 2019 The company's website includes several testimonials that are pretty promising. Lynn Kim, House Beautiful, "This Little Light Could Make You Feel Happier," 26 Mar. 2019 This same message is carried by various former colleagues who are offering testimonials in the senator’s campaign materials. James Freeman, WSJ, "Harvard, Penn and the Warren Story," 17 Oct. 2018 Having these testimonials available for prospective clients can go a long way in building your virtual assistant business. Jamie Ballard, Woman's Day, "How to Become a Virtual Assistant So You Can Work From Home," 7 May 2019 Other sites have used images of Prince Charles and actress Jennifer Aniston, but identified them under different names, to provide testimonials, the regulators said. Brian Fung, latimes.com, "Regulators crack down on suspicious cryptocurrency investment schemes," 21 May 2018 The site features testimonials from people who credit Whole30 with changing their lives and improving their health. Gray Chapman, SELF, "A Nightmare About Nachos Made Me Realize That Dieting Was Causing Me Food Anxiety," 27 Mar. 2019 One thing that really stood out to me in the book was how many people's testimonials were about how much the KonMari Method changed their lives—literally. Taylor Mead, House Beautiful, "Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up," 15 Jan. 2019 Anecdotal endorsements and testimonials are often the only leg that fad diets have to stand on. Abby Langer, SELF, "Most Diets Don't Work, But If a Diet Promises These 4 Things, Run Away," 5 Jan. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The National Commemorative Event began by honoring one of the most historic days in history through a musical performance along, testimonial readings, military displays and a fly-past of 25 modern and historical aircraft. PEOPLE.com, "Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles Join Donald and Melania Trump for D-Day Event," 5 June 2019 On its website, lab-testing company uBiome Inc. featured a photo of a man offering a testimonial for one of its tests. Anna Wilde Mathews, WSJ, "Some Smiling Faces in Online Customer Testimonials Are Stock Photos," 16 May 2019 Sethi shared an excerpt of his book with Teen Vogue: A testimonial from Taylor Dumpson, the former student body president whose first full day in office included an incident that would be investigated as a hate crime. Lucy Diavolo, Teen Vogue, "Arjun Singh Sethi's American Hate Gave Hate Crime Survivors Like Taylor Dumpson the Chance to Tell Their Own Stories," 11 Dec. 2018 Following the veteran coach's testimonial, John took a different approach to try to win Kendra over. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "'The Voice' Coaches Adam Levine and John Legend Couldn't Stop Fighting Over This Singer," 2 Apr. 2019 As recently as August 21, a state appellate court in Indiana ruled that forcing a defendant to provide a passcode was, in fact, testimonial. Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica, "Court: Teen’s driving killed someone, but he can’t be forced to give up passcode," 28 Oct. 2018 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

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

11 Jun 2019

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

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English Language Learners Definition of testimonial

 (Entry 1 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



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

: relating to testimony and especially to legal testimony

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