verb (used with object)
to see, hear, or know by personal presence and perception: to witness an accident.
to be present at (an occurrence) as a formal witness, spectator, bystander, etc.: She witnessed our wedding.
to bear witness to; testify to; give or afford evidence of.
to attest by one's signature: He witnessed her will.
verb (used without object)
to bear witness; testify; give or afford evidence.
an individual who, being present, personally sees or perceives a thing; a beholder, spectator, or eyewitness.
a person or thing that affords evidence.
a person who gives testimony, as in a court of law.
a person who signs a document attesting the genuineness of its execution.
testimony or evidence: to bear witness to her suffering.
(initial capital letter) a member of the Jehovah's Witnesses.

before 950; (noun) Middle English, Old English witnes orig., knowledge, understanding; see wit1, -ness; (v.) Middle English, derivative of the noun

witnessable, adjective
witnesser, noun
prewitness, noun, verb (used with object)
self-witness, noun
self-witnessed, adjective
well-witnessed, adjective

1. perceive, watch, mark, notice, note. See observe. 10. proof, confirmation, substantiation.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
witness (ˈwɪtnɪs)
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
 a.  to give written or oral testimony
 b.  to be evidence or proof ofRelated: testimonial
6.  (tr) to see, be present at, or know at first hand
7.  to give or serve as evidence (of)
8.  (tr) to be the scene or setting of: this field has witnessed a battle
9.  (intr) to testify, esp in a court of law, to events within a person's own knowledge
10.  (tr) to attest to the genuineness of (a document, signature, etc) by adding one's own signature
Related: testimonial
[Old English witnes (meaning both testimony and witness), from witan to know, wit² + -ness; related to Old Norse vitni]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

O.E. witnes "attestation of fact, event, etc., from personal knowledge;" also "one who so testifies;" originally "knowledge, wit," formed from wit (n.) + -ness. The verb is c.1300, from the noun. Christian use (1382) is as a lit. translation of Gk.
martys (see martyr). Witness stand is recorded from 1853.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Bible Dictionary

Witness definition

More than one witness was required in criminal cases (Deut. 17:6; 19:15). They were the first to execute the sentence on the condemned (Deut. 13:9; 17:7; 1 Kings 21:13; Matt. 27:1; Acts 7:57, 58). False witnesses were liable to punishment (Deut. 19:16-21). It was also an offence to refuse to bear witness (Lev. 5:1).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Example sentences
Life photographers witnessed events, and they witnessed them up close.
The book offers intimate portraits-fascinating, poignant and often amusing-of
  the presidents she has witnessed.
The final apparition was witnessed by thousands of locals.
The last decade of the eighteenth century witnessed an increasing attention
  paid to commercial and financial questions.
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