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

Grier Hopkins and Adam Wool, along with House Speaker Bryce Edgmon, I-Dillingham, who flew in from Southeast Alaska to hear from Interior constituents, heard testimony from more than 80 residents throughout the evening. Author: Erin Mcgroarty, Anchorage Daily News, "Fairbanks meeting on Dunleavy budget vetoes draws hundreds of people," 5 July 2019 On Monday, jurors heard testimony from an assistant medical examiner that detailed the grisliness of the crime. Rafael Olmeda, sun-sentinel.com, "Expert says convicted killer’s brain scan 'consistent with’ childhood trauma," 25 June 2019 On Tuesday, the Marijuana Legalization Workgroup heard testimony from Mathew Swinburne, an associate director with the Network for Public Health Law, about how state legalization efforts have come into conflict with federal prohibitions. Luke Broadwater, baltimoresun.com, "Maryland task force begins work on potential legalization of marijuana," 25 June 2019 The trial continues Wednesday, when jurors are expected to hear testimony from a Texas Ranger who worked the case and lab technicians who ran fingerprint and DNA analysis on the packet of information found at Rosser’s home. Dallas News, "Jury in McKinney murder-for-hire case hears about victim's habits, bloody shooting scene in bathroom," 25 June 2019 Jurors heard testimony over eight days from Christensen’s former girlfriend, ex-wife, FBI agents and analysts, Zhang’s long-term boyfriend and her professor. Jamie Munks, chicagotribune.com, "Federal jury begins deliberating in trial of accused U. of I. killer Brendt Christensen," 24 June 2019 The decision was made after hearing testimony from Young, the victim, and some of Young’s neighbors, and police reports were reviewed. Jack Kramer, ExpressNews.com, "CT dog comes off ‘death row,’ finds home in Michigan," 23 June 2019 Since June 4, Superior Court Judge Janet Kenton-Walker has heard testimony from police officers, medical professionals, and the neighbor who found the 3-year-old and 5-month-old. Gal Tziperman Lotan, BostonGlobe.com, "Judge deliberates fate of Blackstone mom charged with murder in ‘house of horrors’ case," 14 June 2019 In an agreement reached Tuesday, prosecutors and defense attorneys agreed the jury did not need to hear testimony from anyone at the genealogy lab. Gene Johnson, The Seattle Times, "Man on trial in killings arrested through genetic genealogy," 13 June 2019

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

11 Jul 2019

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 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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