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 Still, protests continue at Anchorage Assembly meetings, and public testimony at the meetings is often fraught. Emily Goodykoontz, Anchorage Daily News, "As Anchorage restaurants and bars get ready to reopen once again, the future remains murky for many," 1 Jan. 2021 Their testimony was clear, their observations exact, their cursive legible to the point of elegance. Benjamin Wallace-wells, The New Yorker, "The Real Republican Radicals," 31 Dec. 2020 Numerous cases have been thrown out for lack of evidence, including instances where judges have found police testimony to be unreliable, contradictory, or outright false. Mary Hui, Quartz, "Beijing is breaching Hong Kong’s final line of defense: its judiciary," 29 Dec. 2020 Tumor’s religion is carnal, not spiritual, and, like so many gospel songs, his testimony is repetitive. Billboard Staff, Billboard, "The 100 Best Songs of 2020: Staff List," 8 Dec. 2020 In case conspiracy Karen’s testimony in front of a Michigan House Oversight Committee wasn’t wild enough, Team Trump has a new ally in its corner ready to sniff out all the non-existent voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election. Erin Corbett, refinery29.com, "One Of Trump’s Election Fraud “Witnesses” Also Says He’s Being Haunted By Ghosts. Ok!," 3 Dec. 2020 Cosby's legal team has argued that their testimony was old and different from the criminal accusations and should not have been allowed in court. Eric Levenson, CNN, "Bill Cosby's legal team to argue his appeal in Pennsylvania Supreme Court today," 1 Dec. 2020 Consider having witnesses, if their testimony is directly relevant to your case. Carolyn Said, SFChronicle.com, "Appealing your California unemployment denial: What you need to know," 14 Nov. 2020 The testimony presented in that hearing is not public because Sisk was still a juvenile defendant at the time. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al, "North Alabama 15-year-old to be tried as adult in slayings of 5 family members," 6 Nov. 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

20 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Testimony.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/testimony. Accessed 25 Jan. 2021.

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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 testimony (audio) \ adjective
testimonially adverb

History and Etymology for testimony

Latin testimonium, from testis witness

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