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witness

[wit-nis] /ˈwɪt nɪs/
verb (used with object)
1.
to see, hear, or know by personal presence and perception:
to witness an accident.
2.
to be present at (an occurrence) as a formal witness, spectator, bystander, etc.:
She witnessed our wedding.
3.
to bear witness to; testify to; give or afford evidence of.
4.
to attest by one's signature:
He witnessed her will.
verb (used without object)
5.
to bear witness; testify; give or afford evidence.
noun
6.
an individual who, being present, personally sees or perceives a thing; a beholder, spectator, or eyewitness.
7.
a person or thing that affords evidence.
8.
a person who gives testimony, as in a court of law.
9.
a person who signs a document attesting the genuineness of its execution.
10.
testimony or evidence:
to bear witness to her suffering.
11.
(initial capital letter) a member of the Jehovah's Witnesses.
Origin of witness
950
before 950; (noun) Middle English, Old English witnes orig., knowledge, understanding; see wit1, -ness; (v.) Middle English, derivative of the noun
Related forms
witnessable, adjective
witnesser, noun
prewitness, noun, verb (used with object)
self-witness, noun
self-witnessed, adjective
well-witnessed, adjective
Synonyms
1. perceive, watch, mark, notice, note. See observe. 10. proof, confirmation, substantiation.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for witnessing
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • "Without doubt, he could gather no confidence by witnessing our indifference," he said.

    The Last of the Mohicans James Fenimore Cooper
  • Her eyes burned with the horror of witnessing some irrevocable deed.

    Tiverton Tales Alice Brown
  • She knew she was witnessing the outward signs of a guilty conscience.

    The Law-Breakers Ridgwell Cullum
  • I had an opportunity of witnessing in his latter days his sincere repentance; and to this it is fit that I should bear testimony.

    The Secret Memoirs of Louis XV./XVI, Complete Madame du Hausset, an "Unknown English Girl" and the Princess Lamballe
  • He replied, “I learnt it from the Ass, by witnessing his fate.”

British Dictionary definitions for witnessing

witness

/ˈwɪtnɪs/
noun
1.
a person who has seen or can give first-hand evidence of some event
2.
a person or thing giving or serving as evidence
3.
a person who testifies, esp in a court of law, to events or facts within his own knowledge
4.
a person who attests to the genuineness of a document, signature, etc, by adding his own signature
5.
bear witness
  1. to give written or oral testimony
  2. to be evidence or proof of related adjective testimonial
verb
6.
(transitive) to see, be present at, or know at first hand
7.
to give or serve as evidence (of)
8.
(transitive) to be the scene or setting of: this field has witnessed a battle
9.
(intransitive) to testify, esp in a court of law, to events within a person's own knowledge
10.
(transitive) to attest to the genuineness of (a document, signature, etc) by adding one's own signature
Derived Forms
witnessable, adjective
witnesser, noun
Word Origin
Old English witnes (meaning both testimony and witness), from witan to know, wit² + -ness; related to Old Norse vitni
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for witnessing

witness

n.

Old English witnes "attestation of fact, event, etc., from personal knowledge;" also "one who so testifies;" originally "knowledge, wit," formed from wit (n.) + -ness. Christian use (late 14c.) is as a literal translation of Greek martys (see martyr). Witness stand is recorded from 1853.

witness

v.

c.1300, from witness (n.). Related: Witnessed; witnessing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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