9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[wit-nis] /ˈwɪt nɪs/
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.
Origin of witness
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
1. perceive, watch, mark, notice, note. See observe. 10. proof, confirmation, substantiation. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for witnessed
  • 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.
  • And now appeared the first strange phenomenon witnessed by myself in this strange abode.
  • The contrary movement of words from the legitimate vocabulary into slang is constantly witnessed.
  • It was the first burial at sea they had ever witnessed, and they couldn't help finding it interesting.
  • We at present enjoy a free trade throughout our extensive and expanding country such as the world has never witnessed.
  • The crowd who witnessed this gave a sort of low, universal cry, and rushed from the room.
  • They witnessed the arrangement of the pulleys, and the manufacture of the thunders.
British Dictionary definitions for witnessed


a person who has seen or can give first-hand evidence of some event
a person or thing giving or serving as evidence
a person who testifies, esp in a court of law, to events or facts within his own knowledge
a person who attests to the genuineness of a document, signature, etc, by adding his own signature
bear witness
  1. to give written or oral testimony
  2. to be evidence or proof of related adjective testimonial
(transitive) to see, be present at, or know at first hand
to give or serve as evidence (of)
(transitive) to be the scene or setting of: this field has witnessed a battle
(intransitive) to testify, esp in a court of law, to events within a person's own knowledge
(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 witnessed



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.


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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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witnessed in the Bible

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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