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verb (used without object), tes·ti·fied, tes·ti·fy·ing.
  1. to bear witness; give or afford evidence.
  2. Law. to give testimony under oath or solemn affirmation, usually in court.
  3. to make solemn declaration.
verb (used with object), tes·ti·fied, tes·ti·fy·ing.
  1. to bear witness to; affirm as fact or truth; attest.
  2. to give or afford evidence of in any manner.
  3. Law. to state or declare under oath or affirmation, usually in court.
  4. to declare, profess, or acknowledge openly.

Origin of testify

1350–1400; Middle English testifyen < Latin testificārī to bear witness, equivalent to testi(s) witness + -ficārī -fy
Related formstes·ti·fi·er, nounpre·tes·ti·fy, verb (used with object), pre·tes·ti·fied, pre·tes·ti·fy·ing.re·tes·ti·fy, verb, re·tes·ti·fied, re·tes·ti·fy·ing.un·tes·ti·fy·ing, adjective

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for testify


verb -fies, -fying or -fied
  1. (when tr, may take a clause as object) to state (something) formally as a declaration of factI testify that I know nothing about him
  2. law to declare or give (evidence) under oath, esp in court
  3. (when intr, often foll by to) to be evidence (of); serve as witness (to)the money testified to his good faith
  4. (tr) to declare or acknowledge openly
Derived Formstestification, nountestifier, noun

Word Origin for testify

C14: from Latin testificārī, from testis witness
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

Word Origin and History for testify

late 14c., "to serve as evidence of," from Latin testificari "bear witness," from testis "witness" (see testament) + root of facere "to make" (see factitious). Biblical sense of "openly profess one's faith and devotion" is attested from 1520s. Related: Testified; testifying.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper