Trivia: The Ballsy Origin of "Testify"

One theory is that the word "testify" was derived from the ancient Roman custom of men holding their testicles with their right hands before giving testimony in court.

And why did the Romans have to hold their balls before they could testify in court? It was so that eunuchs and women were excluded.

We should say that etymologists aren't unified on this: some say that the origin of testify came from the latin "testis" which means "third person standing by" or "witness." But that's boring. (Source: American Heirtage Dictionary of the English Language)

Newest 5
Newest 5 Comments

A quick read of Genesis 24 (in the Christian Bible) will show that swearing by male "privates" (either one's own, or the other person to whom one is swearing) is an old practice. Abraham told his servant to place his hand "under my thigh", which is considered a euphemism to describe what is actually being held when one puts his hand under another man's thigh.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Login to comment.

Email This Post to a Friend
"Trivia: The Ballsy Origin of "Testify""

Separate multiple emails with a comma. Limit 5.


Success! Your email has been sent!

close window

This website uses cookies.

This website uses cookies to improve user experience. By using this website you consent to all cookies in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

I agree
Learn More