witness


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bear false witness

To lie about or misrepresent the truth about some event, person, or thing. In common usage, it usually refers to perjury (telling a lie while under oath in a court of law) or to the Ninth Commandment in the Bible, from which the phrase is taken: "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor." Even if it is a small lie and seems harmless, if you bear false witness under oath, you may end up going to jail yourself.
See also: bear, false, witness

bear witness to (something)

To support or prove a claim or idea by one's (or something's) physical presence. The many students on campus these days bear witness to the school's successful rebranding efforts. The beautiful homes and vibrant gardens bear witness to the rebirth of this neighborhood.
See also: bear, witness

be (a) witness to (something)

1. To see something happen. I was a witness to many inappropriate situations when I worked in an office. Were you witness to the accident, or did you arrive at the scene after it happened?
2. To be proof of something. The many students on campus these days are a witness to the school's successful rebranding efforts.
See also: witness

give witness to (something)

To support or prove a claim or idea by one's (or something's) physical presence or existence. The many students on campus these days give witness to the school's successful rebranding efforts. The beautiful homes and vibrant gardens give witness to the rebirth of this neighborhood.
See also: give, witness

leading question

A question articulated in such a specific way as to suggest that a particular answer or piece of information is true or has been established. A: "Don't you think the mayor's office should be doing more to prevent corruption?" B: "I resent being asked such a leading question, and I can assure you we are doing all we can." She asked me when I was going to take her out on a date, and I was taken aback at such a leading question.
See also: leading, question

lead a/the witness

To ask a witness at a trial a question that is articulated in such a way as to suggest that a particular answer or piece of information is true or has been established. This practice is forbidden in courts in America. Mr. Smith, I will not allow you to lead a witness in my courtroom. Either ask legitimate questions, or I will find you in contempt of court. Objection! The prosecution is clearly leading the witness.
See also: lead, witness

leading question

a question that suggests the kind of answer that the person who asks it wants to hear. The mayor was angered by the reporter's leading questions. "Don't you think that the police are failing to stop crime?" is an example of a leading question.
See also: leading, question

witness for someone or something

to serve as a witness for some person or some deed. They could find no one to witness to something witness for the accused person. The police found someone to witness for the hour of the crime.
See also: witness

witness to something

to serve as a witness to some act or deed. I was witness to the beating. We were not witness to any of the activities you have described.
See also: witness

leading question

A question worded so as to elicit particular information or a particular answer, as in When are you selling the business? This example assumes that the person is going to sell the business, an action that may not have been established or revealed. This expression originated with a specific meaning in law, that is, "a question that guides a witness toward a desired answer." In court, this practice is called leading a witness and is forbidden. [Mid-1800s]
See also: leading, question

be (a) ˈwitness to something


1 (formal) see something take place: He has been witness to a terrible murder.
2 (written) show that something is true; provide evidence for something: His good health is a witness to the success of the treatment.
See also: something, witness

bear/give ˈwitness (to something)

provide evidence of the truth of something: The huge crowd bore witness to the popularity of this man.
See also: bear, give, witness
References in classic literature ?
Before returning to London, the witness produced references which gave him an excellent character.
Rook having completed his evidence, the police authorities were the next witnesses examined.
How the evidence that had been warped and wrested from the young lady, whose anguish in giving it they had witnessed, came to nothing, involving the mere little innocent gallantries and politenesses likely to pass between any young gentleman and young lady so thrown together;--with the exception of that reference to George Washington, which was altogether too extravagant and impossible to be regarded in any other light than as a monstrous joke.
Weller,' said Serjeant Buzfuz, folding his arms emphatically, and turning half-round to the jury, as if in mute assurance that he would bother the witness yet--'do you mean to tell me, Mr.
'It's perfectly useless, my Lord, attempting to get at any evidence through the impenetrable stupidity of this witness. I will not trouble the court by asking him any more questions.
The third, witness called by Sir Walter Cowdray was the little Catholic clergyman, so little, compared with the others, that his head seemed hardly to come above the box, so that it was like cross-examining a child.
"You are a most extraordinary witness," he said; "but there is something about you that makes me think you are trying to tell the truth.
Just then we entered the witnesses' room, and Rouletabille was immediately surrounded.
What the witness had herself seen and observed of the relations between the husband and wife was the only evidence that they could receive.
The Lord Advocate thereupon continued his examination of the witness. Christina Ormsay resumed her evidence as follows:
"And if I find no reason for starting any small scruples on my side, you may rely on me as a witness."
He has started some nonsensical objection to his wife being one of the witnesses, and has obliged me to ask you to join us in the library."
Ginevra sat down beside Luigi at the end of a long bench; their witnesses remained standing, for want of seats.
Their witnesses, indifferent to what was happening, conversed quietly on their own affairs.
Ferguson's witnesses. Hence the doctor at once asked them to give their official testimony of his arrival at the cataracts of Gouina.