American English

Definition of witness noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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    person who sees something
  1. 1(also eyewitness) [countable] a person who sees something happen and is able to describe it to other people Police have asked witnesses to the accident to come forward. a witness to the killing Topic CollocationsCrimecommitting a crime commit a crime/a murder/a violent assault/a brutal killing/an armed robbery/fraud/perjury be involved in terrorism/a suspected arson attack/human smuggling/human trafficking engage/participate in criminal activity/illegal practices/acts of mindless vandalism steal somebody's wallet/purse/watch/cell phone rob a bank/a person/a tourist break into/burglarize a house/a home/an apartment/an office hijack a plane/ship/bus smuggle drugs/weapons/arms/people/immigrants launder (drug) money (through something) forge documents/certificates/passports take/accept/pay somebody/offer (somebody) a bribe run a phishing scam/an e-mail scam/an Internet scamfighting crime combat/fight crime/terrorism/drug trafficking/corruption prevent/stop credit-card fraud/child abuse/software piracy deter/stop criminals/burglars/thieves/shoplifters/vandals reduce/tackle/crack down on gun/violent/street/property crime foil a bank robbery/a terrorist plot help/support/protect the victims of crimeinvestigating crime report a crime/a theft/a rape/an attack/an incident to the police witness a crime/an attack/a murder/an incident investigate a murder/a homicide/a burglary/a robbery/the alleged incident conduct/launch/pursue/open an investigation (into…) investigate/reopen a criminal/murder case examine/investigate/find fingerprints at the crime scene/the scene of crime collect/gather forensic evidence/physical evidence uncover/discover new evidence/a fraud/a scam/a plot/a conspiracy/political corruption/a cache of weapons describe/identify a suspect/the culprit/the perpetrator/the assailant/the attacker question/interrogate a suspect/witness solve/crack the case ⇨ more collocations at justice Topic CollocationsCriminal Justicebreaking the law break/violate/obey/uphold the law be investigated/arrested/tried for a crime/a robbery/fraud be arrested/indicted/convicted on felony charges/on charges of rape/fraud be arrested on suspicion of arson/robbery/shoplifting be accused of/be charged with murder/homicide/four counts of fraud face two charges of assault and battery admit your guilt/liability/responsibility (for something) deny the allegations/claims/charges confess to a crime be granted/be refused/be released on/skip/jump bailthe legal process stand/await/bring somebody to/come to/be on trial take somebody to/come to/settle something out of court face/avoid/escape prosecution seek/retain/have the right to/be denied access to legal counsel hold/conduct/attend/adjourn a hearing/trial sit on/influence/persuade/convince/advise a jury stand/appear/be brought before a judge plead guilty/not guilty to a crime be called to/take/put somebody on the stand/the witness stand call/subpoena/question/cross-examine a witness give/hear the evidence against/on behalf of somebody raise/withdraw/overrule an objection reach a unanimous/majority verdict return/deliver/record a verdict of guilty/not guilty convict/acquit the defendant of the crime secure a conviction/your acquittal lodge/file an appeal appeal (against)/challenge/uphold/overturn a conviction/verdictsentencing and punishment sentence somebody to 5 years in prison/2 years' probation carry/face/serve a seven-year/life sentence receive/be given the death penalty be sentenced to ten years (in prison/jail) carry/impose/pay a fine (of $3,000)/a penalty (of 14 years' imprisonment) be imprisoned/jailed for drug possession/fraud/murder do/serve time/ten years be sent to/put somebody in/be released from jail/prison be/put somebody/spend 13 years on death row be granted/be denied/violate (your) parole ⇨ more collocations at crime
  2. in court
  3. 2[countable] a person who gives evidence in court a defense/prosecution witness to appear as (a)witness for the defense/prosecution Several witnesses testified that there had been two gunmen. see also hostile witness
  4. of signature
  5. 3[countable] a person who is present when an official document is signed and who also signs it to prove that they saw this happen He was one of the witnesses at our wedding.
  6. of religious beliefs
  7. 4[uncountable] evidence of a person's strong religious beliefs, that they show by what they say and do in public see also Jehovah's Witness
  8. Thesauruswitnessobserver onlooker passerby bystander eyewitnessThese are all words for a person who sees something happen.witness a person who sees something happen and is able to describe it to other people; a person who gives evidence in a court of law:Police are seeking witnesses to the a person who watches something happen:According to observers, the election was peaceful and fair.onlooker a person who watches something that is happening but is not involved in it:A crowd of onlookers gathered at the scene of the accident.passerby a person who is going past someone or something by chance, especially when something unexpected happens:Police asked passersby if they had witnessed the robbery.bystander a person who is near and can see what is happening when something such as an accident or a fight takes place:Three innocent bystanders were killed in the crossfire.eyewitness a person who has seen a crime or an accident and can describe it afterwardPatterns a(n) witness/observer/onlooker/passerby/bystander/eyewitness sees something a(n) observer/onlooker/passerby/bystander witnesses somethingIdioms
    bear/give witness (to something)
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    to provide evidence of the truth of something The crowd of mourners at his funeral bore witness to the public's great affection for him.
      be (a) witness to something
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    1. 1(formal) to see something take place He has been witness to a terrible murder.
    2. 2to show that something is true; to provide evidence for something His good health is a witness to the success of the treatment.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: witness