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 DeJoy acknowledged delays in the delivery of mail in testimony before lawmakers last month, but said the Postal Service was working to fix the delays. Nicholas Wu, USA TODAY, "Senate report finds 'significant' prescription drug delivery delays under Postmaster General Louis DeJoy," 10 Sep. 2020 The revelation was made on Monday in testimony to the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee by Jim Harra, chief executive of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs. Alex Morales, Bloomberg.com, "Wrongful Claims for U.K. Furlough Cash Could Total $4.6 Billion," 7 Sep. 2020 The health department did so in testimony before the Board of Supervisors, in a meeting with residents, in memos listing talking points, and in emails to prospective homebuyers and city consultants. Jason Fagone, San Francisco Chronicle, "‘Extremely unlikely that they will find anything’," 28 Aug. 2020 In testimony that same month, the independent watchdog said the bureau used the intelligence briefing ostensibly about guarding against foreign interference to gather evidence against Trump and Flynn. Daniel Chaitin, Washington Examiner, "Senate investigators interview FBI agent who led Flynn portion of Crossfire Hurricane," 28 Aug. 2020 The investigation is reviewing a number of Trump properties, including several that were raised in Cohen’s congressional testimony. Danny Hakim, BostonGlobe.com, "N.Y. attorney general asks judge to order Eric Trump’s testimony," 24 Aug. 2020 In recent congressional testimony, Barr did not rule out releasing more of Durham's findings before the November election. Olivia Gazis, CBS News, "Former CIA Director John Brennan interviewed for 8 hours in Durham probe," 22 Aug. 2020 Two employees of the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, in testimony, described how Penrose would commandeer meetings. Scott Wartman, The Enquirer, "Dawn Gentry secretary: No threesome, just a prank," 12 Aug. 2020 In public testimony this month, Howard Zucker, the state’s health commissioner, defended the decision and argued that New York had been as transparent about nursing home casualties as any state in the nation. Joe Sexton, ProPublica, "Local Officials Say a Nursing Home Dumped Residents to Die at Hospitals," 11 Aug. 2020

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

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for testimony

Last Updated

16 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Testimony.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/testimony. Accessed 23 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for testimony


How to pronounce testimony (audio)

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


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 testimonial (audio) \ adjective
testimonially adverb

History and Etymology for testimony

Latin testimonium, from testis witness

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