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 Likely weeks before testimony: Trial begins in Nia Wilson murder case. Taylor Kate Brown, SFChronicle.com, "Bay Briefing: How wine tariffs on Europe could hurt California," 7 Jan. 2020 Christian’s attorneys also contended that a visit to any train car -- whether it be the actual car or not -- would be unnecessary because jurors will gain a good understanding of the car’s layout through photos, video and witness testimony. oregonlive, "Jurors will tour a MAX train car identical to the one in which Jeremy Christian is accused of murdering 2," 6 Jan. 2020 Letter and his team argued that although their efforts to obtain McGahn's testimony and the grand jury material preceded the impeachment of President Trump, impeachment is the impetus for continuing the legal battle. Robert Legare, CBS News, "House lawyers and Justice Department continue feud over McGahn testimony and Mueller material," 3 Jan. 2020 The occasion was the twice-yearly testimony by the Fed’s chairman to Congress. The Economist, "Buttonwood Why the most important hedge is against unexpected inflation," 2 Jan. 2020 The news report says physical and documentary evidence and witness and expert testimony were presented to the court but gave no details. Dennis Normile, Science | AAAS, "Chinese scientist who produced genetically altered babies sentenced to 3 years in jail," 30 Dec. 2019 Can there be a better testimony to the love and respect he, likely a powerful buffalo-herd, commanded as a leader? Harish Pullanoor, Quartz India, "We, the permanent villains of Indian mythology, must reclaim our fallen icons," 30 Dec. 2019 Instead, any proposed rule would be published and public input invited, including public testimony before the full Supreme Court at a later date. Tynin Fries, The Denver Post, "The Denver Post’s best long reads of 2019 that are worth your time," 25 Dec. 2019 During testimony, its witnesses said another 38 days would allow it enough time to gain the additional signatures required to qualify for the ballot. Randy Ludlow, Cincinnati.com, "Ohio Supreme Court agrees to hear House Bill 6 referendum case," 24 Dec. 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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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

10 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Testimony.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/testimony. Accessed 23 January 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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Comments on testimony

What made you want to look up testimony? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


out of the ordinary or unreasonable

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