1  a attestation of a fact or event in witness whereof the parties have executed this release

  • b evidence (as of the authenticity of a conveyance by deed) furnished by signature, oath, or seal

2one who gives evidence regarding matters of fact under inquiry; specifically one who testifies or is legally qualified to testify in a case or to give evidence before a judicial tribunal or similar inquiry 

  • witness before a congressional committee
  • no person…shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself
  •  —U.S. Constitution amend. V

 adverse witness

a witness who is called by or associated with an opposing party or who by statement, conduct, or other evidence (as of relationship) shows bias against or is injurious to the case of the party by whom the witness is called 

  • sought to have his witness declared an adverse witness subject to impeachment

  called also hostile witness; see also leading question at question 1

 alibi witness

a witness upon whom a criminal defendant relies in establishing an alibi

 character witness

a witness who testifies as to the character or reputation especially of a criminal defendant a witness who gives character evidence

 expert witness

a witness (as a medical specialist) who by virtue of special knowledge, skill, training, or experience is qualified to provide testimony to aid the factfinder in matters that exceed the common knowledge of ordinary people

 hostile witness

adverse witness in this entry

 lay witness

a witness who is not an expert witness

 material witness

a witness whose testimony is necessary for trial and whose presence may sometimes be secured by the state by subpoena, custody, or recognizance

 prosecuting witness

a witness (as the victim of a crime) whose own allegations initiate the prosecution of the defendant

 qualified witness

a witness who has sufficient understanding of a record-keeping system to provide testimony that forms the proper foundation for admission of evidence under the business records exception to the hearsay rule

 rebuttal witness

a witness called upon to rebut evidence already presented

3one who is called on to be present at a transaction so as to be able to testify to its occurrence; specifically one who sees the execution of an instrument and signs it to confirm its authenticity 

  • witness to a will


  • witness to an assault

 bear witness

to furnish or constitute proof or evidence