certify 1 Certify, attest, witness, vouch are comparable when they mean to testify to the truth or genuineness of something.
Certify usually implies a statement in writing, especially one that carries one's signature or seal or both or one that is legally executed; thus, a certified check carries the guarantee of a bank that the signature is genuine and that there are sufficient funds on deposit to meet it

they said their chemists . . . could certify on their honor that their extract contained no salicylic acid— Heiser

Attest (see also INDICATE) implies oral or written testimony from a person in a position to know the facts, usually but not invariably given under oath or on one's word of honor; thus, when one says that something is well attested, he implies that there is sufficient documentary or oral testimony from competent persons to warrant its acceptance

the pleader . . . had witness ready to attest . . . that every article was true— Swift


Washington's strong natural love of children, nowhere attested better than in his expense accounts— Fitzpatrick

In technical legal use attest is used chiefly in reference to the official authentication of a document (as a will, a deed, or a record) or to the guaranteeing of the genuineness of a signature or a statement or an oath by a qualified public agent (as a notary public or a commissioner of deeds)

an attested copy of the marriage record— Cather

Witness implies attestation, not necessarily official or notarial, of a signature (as of a statement, a will, or a bond) by one who has seen that signature actually made and who subscribes his own name to the document as evidence of its genuineness

he called in two of his servants to witness the signature to his will

Vouch (usually with for) rarely implies official or legal proof, which the other words in this group usually do imply, but it suggests that the one who testifies is a competent authority or a reliable person who will stand behind his affirmation and support it further if necessary

for the exactness of this story [of a purported miracle] in all its details, Bishop James of Voragio could not have vouched, nor did it greatly matter. What he could vouch for was the relation of intimacy and confidence between his people and the Queen of Heaven— Henry Adams

Analogous words: avouch, avow, aver, *assert, profess
2 endorse, accredit, *approve, sanction
Analogous words: vouch (see CERTIFY): *authorize, commission, license
Contrasted words: reject, repudiate, refuse (see DECLINE)

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

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  • certify — cer·ti·fy / sər tə ˌfī/ vt fied, fy·ing [Medieval Latin certificare, from Late Latin, to assure, convince, from Latin certus certain + ficare to make] 1: to state authoritatively: as a: to give assurance of the validity of certify corporate… …   Law dictionary

  • certify — cer‧ti‧fy [ˈsɜːtfaɪ ǁ ˈsɜːr ] verb certified PTandPP [transitive] 1. to state that something is correct or suitable, especially after an official check or test: • Every delivery must be certified for consistent quality. • The farm has not yet… …   Financial and business terms

  • Certify — Cer ti*fy, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Certified}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Certifying}.] [F. certifier, LL. certificare; L. certus certain + facere to make. See {Certain}, and cf. {Certificate}, v. t.] 1. To give cetain information to; to assure; to make… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • certify — early 14c., from O.Fr. certefiier make certain, witness the truth of (12c.), from L.L. certificare to certify, to make certain, from L. certus (see CERTAIN (Cf. certain)) + root of facere to make, do (see FACTITIOUS (Cf. factitious)). Related:… …   Etymology dictionary

  • certify — [v] declare as true accredit, approve, ascertain, assure, attest, authenticate, authorize, aver, avow, commission, confirm, corroborate, endorse, guarantee, license, notify, okay, profess, reassure, rubber stamp*, sanction, show, state, swear,… …   New thesaurus

  • certify — ► VERB (certifies, certified) 1) formally confirm. 2) officially recognize as meeting certain standards. 3) officially declare insane. ORIGIN Latin certificare, from certus certain …   English terms dictionary

  • certify — [sʉrt′ə fī΄] vt. certified, certifying [ME certifien < OFr certifier < LL certificare < L certus, CERTAIN + FY] 1. to declare (a thing) true, accurate, certain, etc. by formal statement, often in writing; verify; attest 2. to declare… …   English World dictionary

  • certify — v. 1) (esp. BE) (D; tr.) to certify as (the psychiatrist certified him as insane) 2) (L) she certified that it was a true copy 3) (M) can you certify this to be a true copy? 4) (esp. BE) (N; used with an adjective) he was certified insane * * * [ …   Combinatory dictionary

  • certify — cer|ti|fy [ˈsə:tıfaı US ˈsə:r ] v past tense and past participle certified present participle certifying third person singular certifies [T] [Date: 1300 1400; : French; Origin: certifier, from Late Latin certificare, from Latin certus; CERTAIN1]… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • certify — transitive verb ( fied; fying) Etymology: Middle English certifien, from Anglo French certefier, from Late Latin certificare, from Latin certus certain more at certain Date: 14th century 1. to attest authoritatively: as a. confirm …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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