Topic: LAW

Language: Old English
Origin: witnes 'knowledge, account, witness', from wit; WIT


1 noun
wit‧ness1 S2 W3


[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

in a court of law

[countable]SCL someone who appears in a court of law to say what they know about a crime or other event
key/star/principal witness
the key witness in the case against the brothers
The defense 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 witness

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 signed
witness to
a witness to a will

be witness to something

formal to be present when something happens, and watch it happening:
We were witness to the worst excesses of the military.

christian belief

[uncountable and countable] American EnglishRRC a public statement of strong Christian belief, or someone who makes such a statement

➔ bear witness

at bear1 (15)
people in a court of law: judge, magistrate, jury, defence British English/defense American English, prosecution, defendant, witness, attorney, lawyer, barrister British English, solicitor British English, district attorney American English

what happens in a court case:At the beginning of the trial, the person who is accused pleads guilty or not guilty to the charges against them. The lawyers for the prosecution try to prove that the defendant is guilty, and the lawyers for the defence try to prove that their client is innocent. The judge and the jury examine the evidence and listen to the testimony of the witnesses. At the end of the trial, the judge then sums up the case, and the jury then gives their verdict. If the person is found guilty, the judge sentences them to a period of time in prison, or orders them to pay a fine. If the person is found not guilty, they are released.

See also

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