tes·​ti·​mo·​ny | \ ˈte-stə-ˌmō-nē How to pronounce testimony (audio) \
plural testimonies

Definition of testimony

1a : a solemn declaration usually made orally by a witness under oath in response to interrogation by a lawyer or authorized public official
b : firsthand authentication of a fact : evidence
c : an outward sign
2a : an open acknowledgment
b : a public profession of religious experience
3a(1) : the tablets inscribed with the Mosaic law
(2) : the ark containing the tablets
b : a divine decree attested in the Scriptures

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Examples of testimony in a Sentence

The jury heard 10 days of testimony. There were contradictions in her testimony. the personal testimonies of survivors of the war It is testimony to her courage and persistence that she worked for so long in the face of such adversity. The popularity of diet fads is a testimony to the fact that people want a quick fix for their health and weight problems.
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Recent Examples on the Web Following the testimony from the gymnasts, FBI Director Christopher Wray and Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz are answering questions from the Judiciary panel. Melissa Quinn, CBS News, 15 Sep. 2021 As with any business relationship, seek out testimony from clients of your potential partner before signing a contract. Chris Dean, Forbes, 13 Sep. 2021 Since then, the case has winded through the court and is set for a jury trial Monday in Wilmington that could feature testimony from both Cohens. Xerxes Wilson, USA TODAY, 13 Sep. 2021 Prosecutors also relied on Mills’ emails and testimony from other county employees to tell jurors that Mills did all of this to turn the jail into a money-making machine at the behest of County Executive Armond Budish. Cory Shaffer, cleveland, 10 Sep. 2021 Judge Ralph Erickson ruled Friday that misleading testimony from a medical examiner and limitations on mental health evidence had violated Alfonso Rodriguez Jr.'s constitutional rights. Fox News, 7 Sep. 2021 The Oakland City Council ended the Police Department’s partnership with the FBI in October 2020; testimony from Muslims helped make the case. Deepa Fernandes, San Francisco Chronicle, 5 Sep. 2021 Prosecutors also elicited more testimony from witnesses that, while not necessarily as watershed as accusers’ statements, was no less corroborative. Victoria Bekiempis, Vulture, 3 Sep. 2021 At the last board meeting on Aug. 23, trustees did not vote on a mask mandate, despite testimony from doctors in the area advocating their use. Anna Caplan, Dallas News, 2 Sep. 2021

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3a(1)

History and Etymology for testimony

Middle English testimonie, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin & Latin; Late Latin testimonium Decalogue, from Latin, evidence, witness, from testis witness — more at testament

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Time Traveler for testimony

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The first known use of testimony was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near testimony



testimony meeting

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Last Updated

17 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Testimony.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/testimony. Accessed 24 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for testimony



English Language Learners Definition of testimony

: something that someone says especially in a court of law while formally promising to tell the truth
: proof or evidence that something exists or is true : testament


tes·​ti·​mo·​ny | \ ˈte-stə-ˌmō-nē How to pronounce testimony (audio) \
plural testimonies

Kids Definition of testimony

: a statement made by a witness under oath especially in a court


tes·​ti·​mo·​ny | \ ˈtes-tə-ˌmō-nē How to pronounce testimony (audio) \
plural testimonies

Legal Definition of testimony

: evidence furnished by a witness under oath or affirmation and either orally or in an affidavit or deposition
former testimony
: testimony that a witness gives at a different proceeding (as another hearing or a deposition)

Note: Under Federal Rule of Evidence 804, former testimony is admissible as an exception to the hearsay rule when the declarant is unavailable and if a predecessor in interest in a civil proceeding or the party against whom the testimony is offered had an opportunity and similar motive to develop the testimony.

negative testimony
: testimony concerning what did not happen especially : testimony concerning what one did not perceive negative testimony that the witness did not hear a train whistle

Note: Negative testimony is sometimes accorded the same weight as positive testimony when the witness was in a position to perceive something and was eagerly attentive.

opinion testimony
: testimony relaying opinion as opposed to direct knowledge of the facts at issue

Note: Opinion testimony may be allowed in evidence when it helps the factfinder understand or determine the facts at issue. Such testimony by a lay witness must be rationally based on his or her perception. A qualified expert witness may also give opinion testimony. The expert's opinion may be based on facts or data that he or she perceives directly or of which he or she is made aware other than by direct perception at or before trial.

positive testimony
: testimony that presents an affirmative declaration of fact and is based on the personal knowledge of the testifier
reputation testimony
: testimony concerning a person's reputation among associates or in the community

Other Words from testimony

testimonial \ ˌtes-​tə-​ˈmō-​nē-​əl How to pronounce testimony (audio) \ adjective
testimonially adverb

History and Etymology for testimony

Latin testimonium, from testis witness

More from Merriam-Webster on testimony

Nglish: Translation of testimony for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of testimony for Arabic Speakers


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