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witness (n.)

Old English witnes "attestation of fact, event, etc., from personal knowledge;" also "one who so testifies;" originally "knowledge, wit," formed from wit (n.) + -ness. Christian use (late 14c.) is as a literal translation of Greek martys (see martyr). Witness stand is recorded from 1853.

witness (v.)

c. 1300, "bear testimony," from witness (n.). Meaning "affix one's signature to (a document) to establish its identity" is from early 14c. Meaning "see or know by personal presence, observe" is from 1580s. Related: Witnessed; witnessing.

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Definitions of witness from WordNet
1
witness (n.)
someone who sees an event and reports what happened;
Synonyms: witnesser / informant
witness (n.)
a close observer; someone who looks at something (such as an exhibition of some kind);
Synonyms: spectator / viewer / watcher / looker
witness (n.)
testimony by word or deed to your religious faith;
witness (n.)
(law) a person who attests to the genuineness of a document or signature by adding their own signature;
Synonyms: attestant / attestor / attestator
witness (n.)
(law) a person who testifies under oath in a court of law;
2
witness (v.)
be a witness to;
She witnessed the accident and had to testify in court
witness (v.)
perceive or be contemporaneous with;
Synonyms: find / see
From wordnet.princeton.edu