From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishwitnesswit‧ness1 /ˈwɪtnəs/ ●●○ S3 W3 noun 1 crime/accidentSEE [countable] someone who sees a crime or an accident and can describe what happened Police have appealed for witnesses to come forward.witness to One witness to the accident said the driver appeared to be drunk. an eye witness (=someone who sees an event) to the robbery → eyewitness2 in a court of law [countable]SCT someone who appears in a court of law to say what they know about a crime or other event → testifykey/star/principal witness the key witness in the case against the brothers The defence is expected to call them as witnesses.witness for the prosecution/defence (also prosecution/defence witness) (=someone the prosecution or defence lawyers choose as a witness in order to help prove their case) → expert witness3 signing a document [countable]SCL someone who is present when an official document is signed, and who signs it too, to say that they saw it being signedwitness to a witness to a will4 → be witness to something5 christian belief [countable, uncountable] American EnglishRRC a public statement of strong Christian belief, or someone who makes such a statement → bear witness at bear1(15)COLLOCATIONS – Meaning 2: someone who appears in a court of law to say what they know about a crime or other eventADJECTIVES/NOUN + witness a key witness (=a very important witness)Rupert is expected to be a key witness at the trial.a star witness (=an important witness who says things that help one side a lot)The judge ruled that the state’s star witness had lied on the stand.a principal witness (=a main witness)The principal witness was too ill to testify.an expert witness (=someone who has special knowledge, for example of medicine, and who talks about it in court)The jury had to choose between the conflicting testimonies of expert witnesses.a character witness (=a witness who says that the person being tried is a good person)He said he would gladly be a character witness for her.a prosecution witnessDuring the trial, over thirty prosecution witnesses were called.a defence witnessA defence witness said that Carter was not holding a gun when the shot was fired.phrasesa witness for the prosecution/defenceWitnesses for the prosecution have not sounded convincing.verbscall a witness (=require a witness to speak in court)She was the final witness to be called.question a witnessThey were not permitted to question government witnesses.cross-examine a witness (=ask them questions about what they have said)His attorney cross-examined the witness.appear as a witnessHe appeared as an expert witness at several government enquiries.a witness testifies (=makes a statement)We had two witnesses who testified that they had seen him hitting his wife.a witness gives evidenceChild witnesses gave evidence using closed circuit television cameras.witness + NOUNthe witness box/stand (=where the witness sits when speaking in court)He spent three hours in the witness stand.the statement/testimony of a witness (=what a witness says)The testimony of one witness led to his conviction.
Examples from the Corpuswitness• The congressman was called as a witness for the prosecution today.• He is not entirely worthless as a witness.• In court, a witness said he had seen O'Grady punch the woman in the face.• Moreover, a witness had obligations.• Scores of equally distinguished witnesses gave similar testimony.• The Court agreed with the Special Commissioner over the admissibility of the evidence of the taxpayer's expert witness.• Police are appealing for witnesses to an arson attack on an apartment block.• The witness was asked to identify the defendant in the courtroom.• The witnesses would say later that the searingly brilliant white flash seemed to last for several seconds.• Evidence depends upon witnesses and, to some extent, their credibility is dependent upon their performance in the witness box.witness to• His brother was a witness to the will.• One witness to the accident said that the driver appeared to be drunk.key/star/principal witness• Rupert is expected to be a key witness at the judge-only trial due to open in Dublin on April 24.• And he said there was now further evidence to discredit a principal witness in the case as a liar and a cheat.• The police switched to regarding her as completely innocent and she became the star witness.• Most of the key witnesses have long since skipped the country.• The prosecution dropped the charges in 1976, announcing that the principal witness was too ill to ever testify.• What took place has to be reconstructed with the principal witness for the prosecution being unavailable. witnesswitness2 ●●○ verb 1 crime/accident [transitive]SCPSEE to see something happen, especially a crime or accident Several residents claim to have witnessed the attack.► see thesaurus at notice, see2 experience something [transitive]EXPERIENCE to experience important events or changes Priests have witnessed an increase in religious intolerance.3 time/place [transitive] if a time or place witnesses an event, the event happens during that time or in that place Recent years have witnessed the collapse of the steel industry.4 official document [transitive]SCL if you witness the signing of an official document, you are there when it is signed, and sign it yourself to prove this Will you witness my signature?5 → witness something6 religion [intransitive]RRC to speak publicly about your Christian beliefs → testify→ See Verb table
Examples from the Corpuswitness• The crash was witnessed by millions of viewers who were watching the race on TV.• The crash was witnessed by scores of holiday weekenders along the beach.• Meanwhile, on the passenger front, the four-mile Sanderstead-Elmers End line witnessed funereal acts on 13 May 1983.• He has seen World Series and traveled to witness Opening Day in a handful of major-league cities.• A stock index does not oscillate with such frightening amplitude as we have witnessed recently unless to announce some tectonic change ahead.• How often we have witnessed such hubris, and how loudly we have guffawed.• Police are appealing for information from anyone who witnessed the attack.• I witnessed the Coventry versus Ipswich match recently.• It is not legal unless the pastor witnesses the marriage license.• But Bobby just sat there with a wolfish grin as guests moved in to witness the spectacle.witness ... signature• She simply produced the documents, Mr. O'Brien signed and she witnessed his signature.• I witnessed Kennedy's signature on the Friday.From Longman Business Dictionarywitnesswit‧ness1 /ˈwɪtnəs/ noun [countable]LAW1someone in a court of law who tells the court what they saw or what they know about a crimeThe government’s case rested on one key (=important) witness.I was asked to testify as a defense witness (=acting to defend the person accused of committing a crime).the main prosecution witness (=acting to show that the accused person is guilty)2someone who is present when an official paper is signed and who also signs it to prove thiswitness toYou will need two witnesses to the signing of the document.witnesswitness2 verb [transitive]LAW to be present when someone signs an official document, and to sign it yourself to show thisWill you witness my signature?→ See Verb tableOrigin witness1 Old English witnes “knowledge, account, witness”, from wit; → WIT