tes·​ti·​mo·​ny | \ˈte-stə-ˌmō-nē \
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

Their words form a final testimony modern readers ought to heed. Aaron Schnoor, WSJ, "The Great War Produced Some Great Poetry," 9 Nov. 2018 This legal doctrine posits that, if the government already knows the testimony that will be obtained, then the Fifth Amendment cannot be a shield. Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica, "Court: Teen’s driving killed someone, but he can’t be forced to give up passcode," 28 Oct. 2018 And then, at a rally five days later, Trump mocked Dr. Ford’s testimony, to laughter from his audience. Jennifer Wright, Harper's BAZAAR, "We're Living in a Time of Cruel Laughing Men," 17 Oct. 2018 As millions of Americans listened to Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s brutal, heartfelt testimony, many survivors were triggered to think back to their own, harrowing experiences. Isobel Yeung, Glamour, "For Some Sexual Assault Survivors, Justice Looks Like a Sit-Down With Their Assailant," 16 Oct. 2018 But in the wake of Christine Blasey Ford’s brave testimony before the Senate Judicial Committee last week, something inside me has come undone. Maria Kari, Allure, "Christine Blasey Ford Confronted Her Traumatic Past, Now I’m Confronting Mine," 1 Oct. 2018 There are so many intense details and secrets emerging at once, and keeping track of all of the clues and testimonies is a task, people! Danielle Fox, Seventeen, "Only A True "13 Reasons Why" Fan Can Get A Perfect Score On This Quiz," 25 July 2018 In testimony before the council, Thompson had argued the plastic foam ban wouldn’t help the environment because people still would litter other products. Lorraine Mirabella, baltimoresun.com, "More eateries, businesses do away with plastic straws," 13 July 2018 Neither Constand nor her family members have decided whether to take advantage of their right to give victim impact statements, either in court testimony at Cosby’s sentencing or through submitted written statements, her attorney says. Jeff Truesdell, PEOPLE.com, "Bill Cosby Turns 81 Today — as Possible 30-Year Sentence Looms After Sex Assault Conviction," 12 July 2018

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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Statistics for testimony

Last Updated

14 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for testimony

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

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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


tes·​ti·​mo·​ny | \ˈte-stə-ˌmō-nē \
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 \
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 \ adjective
testimonially adverb

History and Etymology for testimony

Latin testimonium, from testis witness

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Comments on testimony

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a private place of worship

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