tes·​ti·​mo·​ny ˈte-stə-ˌmō-nē How to pronounce testimony (audio)
plural testimonies
: a solemn declaration usually made orally by a witness under oath in response to interrogation by a lawyer or authorized public official
: firsthand authentication of a fact : evidence
: an outward sign
: an open acknowledgment
: a public profession of religious experience
: the tablets inscribed with the Mosaic law
: the ark containing the tablets
: a divine decree attested in the Scriptures

Example Sentences

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.
Recent Examples on the Web Conley’s attorney, John Camillus, presented jurors with testimony from a former NFL general manager that the accusations cost Conley a higher selection in the draft and likely shaved more than $2 million off of Conley’s rookie contract. Cory Shaffer, cleveland, 23 Nov. 2022 But prosecutors appeared satisfied with his testimony, deciding not to call the other crucial witness, Donald Bender, who for years was an outside accountant for Mr. Trump and the company. William K. Rashbaum, New York Times, 21 Nov. 2022 The fourth, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, a documentary filmmaker who was an actor at the time of her alleged rape and is now married to California Gov. Gavin Newsom, provided the most dramatic moments at the trial so far with her emotional testimony. Andrew Dalton, USA TODAY, 18 Nov. 2022 That’s at odds with earlier testimony at this week’s trial in which Tesla leaders described the plan as difficult to achieve. Matt Mcfarland, CNN, 17 Nov. 2022 When parents spoke out, the district held a community meeting that lasted over two hours, with most testimony against the ban. Brooke Schultz, Anchorage Daily News, 5 Nov. 2022 When parents spoke out, the district held a community meeting that lasted over two hours, with most testimony against the ban. Brooke Schultz, The Christian Science Monitor, 4 Nov. 2022 Week 9 in the trial of George Wagner continues Monday morning with more expert testimony and perhaps more family members of George. The Enquirer, 31 Oct. 2022 The meeting began with expert testimony in favor of and against such care. Jo Yurcaba, NBC News, 29 Oct. 2022 See More

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.

Word History


Middle English testimonie, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin & Latin; Late Latin testimonium Decalogue, from Latin, evidence, witness, from testis witness — more at testament

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3a(1)

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

Dictionary Entries Near testimony

Cite this Entry

“Testimony.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/testimony. Accessed 29 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition



tes·​ti·​mo·​ny ˈtes-tə-ˌmō-nē How to pronounce testimony (audio)
plural testimonies
: firsthand evidence
according to the testimony of eyewitnesses
: a statement made by a witness under oath especially in a court
: a public declaration of religious experience

Legal Definition



tes·​ti·​mo·​ny ˈtes-tə-ˌmō-nē How to pronounce testimony (audio)
plural testimonies
: 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
testimonial adjective
testimonially adverb

History and Etymology for testimony

Latin testimonium, from testis witness

More from Merriam-Webster on testimony

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