See also: Witness

English edit

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Alternative forms edit

Etymology edit

From Middle English witnesse, from Old English ġewitnes, equivalent to wit +‎ -ness. Cognate with Middle Dutch wetenisse (witness, testimony), Old High German gewiznessi (testimony), Icelandic vitni (witness).

Pronunciation edit

  • IPA(key): /ˈwɪtnəs/, /ˈwɪtnɪs/
  • (file)
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɪtnəs, -ɪtnɪs
  • Hyphenation: wit‧ness

Noun edit

witness (countable and uncountable, plural witnesses)

  1. (uncountable) Attestation of a fact or event; testimony.
    She can bear witness, since she was there at the time.
    • c. 1597 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Merry Wiues of Windsor”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act IV, scene ii]:
      May we, with the warrant of womanhood and the witness of a good conscience, pursue him with any further revenge?
    • 1959, Alexander MacLaren, Expositions of holy scripture[1], volume 6:
      We have as much witness from heaven as we need.
    • 1999, Nettie Becker, Paul Becker, A Comprehensive Guide for Caregivers in Day-care Settings[2]:
      On another corner, stands an old style tenement building, whose dirty grey facade bears as much witness to the volume of exhaust fumes from millions of passing cars as it does to the age of the dwelling.
    • 2002, Charles E. Scott, The Lives of Things[3], page 125:
      Nor do the formation and articulation of such knowledge themselves bear much witness to Geist.
    • 2008, Jeremiah Burroughs, C. Matthew McMahon, Therese B. McMahon, The Excellency of Holy Courage in Evil Times[4], page 100:
      Fleeing is giving witness, and those that plead against it are loath to give so much witness
    • 2014, James Tarter, God's Word to the United States: The Book of Obadiah[5]:
      Ob. 16 can show that every nation will get at least this much witness
  2. (countable) One who sees or has personal knowledge of something.
    As a witness to the event, I can confirm that he really said that.
  3. (countable, law) Someone called to give evidence in a court.
    The witness for the prosecution did not seem very credible.
    • 1961 November, “Talking of Trains: Derailment near Holmes Chapel”, in Trains Illustrated, page 652:
      From the evidence of witnesses and of the recorded passing times, including the time at which the circuit breakers were tripped when the wires were brought down, the train was travelling at a speed of not less than 70 m.p.h.
  4. (countable) One who is called upon to witness an event or action, such as a wedding or the signing of a document.
    The bridesmaid and best man at a wedding typically serve as the witnesses.
  5. (countable) Something that serves as evidence; a sign or token.

Derived terms edit

Translations edit

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Verb edit

witness (third-person singular simple present witnesses, present participle witnessing, simple past and past participle witnessed)

  1. (transitive) To furnish proof of, to show.
    This certificate witnesses his presence on that day.
    • 1667, John Milton, “Book I”, in Paradise Lost. [], London: [] [Samuel Simmons], [], →OCLC; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: [], London: Basil Montagu Pickering [], 1873, →OCLC, lines 56-57:
      round he throws his baleful eyes / That witness'd huge affliction and dismay
  2. (transitive) To take as evidence.
    • 1993, Vicki M. Pino, “Viewpoints from our Readers after "Aprongate": Lighten up”, in Atlanta Journal Constitution:
      Depression often goes undetected until it is too late . Witness the recent White House suicide.
  3. (transitive) To see or gain knowledge of through experience.
    He witnessed the accident.
    • 1801, Robert Hall, On Modern Infidelity:
      This is but a faint sketch of the incalculable calamities and horrors we must expect, should we be so unfortunate as ever to witness the triumph of modern infidelity
    • 1803, John Marshall, The Life of George Washington:
      General Washington did not live to witness the restoration of peace.
  4. (intransitive, construed with to or for) To present personal religious testimony; to preach at (someone) or on behalf of.
    • 1998, Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, volume 6, "Niebuhr, Reinhold", page 842:
      Instead, Niebuhr's God was the God witnessed to in the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament, the Bible of the Christian world.
  5. To see the execution of (a legal instrument), and subscribe it for the purpose of establishing its authenticity.
    to witness a bond or a deed

Synonyms edit

Translations edit

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Anagrams edit