Printable Version
Pronunciation: tes-tê-mo-ni-ê-laiz Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb

Meaning: To endorse, give a testimonial for or against, to publicly recommend.

Notes: Today's Good Word sets the stage for testimonialist "someone who testimonializes" and testimonialism "the practice of testimonializing", two words that occur in no dictionary, because they are so new. My spell checker doesn't like any of them. Of course, in the UK this word is spelled with an S: testimonialise.

In Play: When politicians say they'll vote for a certain candidate, they endorse that candidate. But when they extoll a candidate from personal knowledge, they testimonialize him or her: "Siddy Hall testimonialized Sandy Bottoms for her political integrity and the handsoap she produces." Testimonialization has become a profession: "Hank O'Hair testimonializes an electric kitchen mop with an electric light regularly on TV."

Word History: Testimonialize is a verbalization testimonial, the adjective for testimony, a word based on testis, the Latin word for "witness". All the funny speculations connecting witnesses with testicles involving the Roman legal system have been discredited. So, we don't know how the Latin word for "witness" came to refer to male genitalia. Testis may have originally been a compound of tri- "three, third" + -sti-, a variant of sta-, meaning "third party standing (giving testimony)". This in itself is a bit far-fetched and the number would be off the count for the other things. We find the Latin root also in testament. (Let's all now thank Donald Andreatta for discovering this brand new word with its murky history and sharing it with us.)

Dr. Goodword,

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