What does circumstantial evidence mean?

Definitions for circumstantial evidence

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word circumstantial evidence.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. circumstantial evidence, indirect evidence(noun)

    evidence providing only a basis for inference about the fact in dispute


  1. Circumstantial evidence

    Circumstantial evidence is evidence in which an inference is required to connect it to a conclusion of fact, like a fingerprint at the scene of a crime. By contrast, direct evidence supports the truth of an assertion directly—i.e., without need for any additional evidence or the intervening inference. On its own, it is the nature of circumstantial evidence for more than one explanation to still be possible. Inference from one piece of circumstantial evidence may not guarantee accuracy. Circumstantial evidence usually accumulates into a collection, so that the pieces then become corroborating evidence. Together, they may more strongly support one particular inference over another. An explanation involving circumstantial evidence becomes more valid as proof of a fact when the alternative explanations have been ruled out. Circumstantial evidence allows a trier of fact to deduce a fact exists. In criminal law, the inference is made by the trier of facts in order to support the truth of assertion. Testimony can be direct evidence or it can be circumstantial. If the witness claims they saw the crime take place, this is considered direct evidence. For instance, a witness saying that the defendant stabbed the victim is direct evidence. By contrast, a witness who says that she saw the defendant enter a house, that she heard screaming, and that she saw the defendant leave with a bloody knife gives circumstantial evidence. It is the necessity for inference, and not the obviousness of a conclusion, that determines whether or not evidence is circumstantial.


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of circumstantial evidence in Chaldean Numerology is: 3

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of circumstantial evidence in Pythagorean Numerology is: 5

Sample Sentences & Example Usage

  1. Henry David Thoreau:

    Some circumstantial evidence is very strong, as when you find a trout in the milk.

  2. Eric Chaffee:

    You're always dealing with circumstantial evidence. We don't have the ability to probe people's minds.

  3. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff:

    Some employees working for Petrobras did engage in corruption or acts of corruption, the circumstantial evidence that is available from the prosecutors are pretty substantial.

  4. Adam Schiff:

    At the outset of the investigation, there was circumstantial evidence of collusion. There was direct evidence, I think, of deception, and that's where we begin the investigation.

  5. Jon Gould:

    It's really difficult to know. If you ever were to ask one of the Supreme Court justices whether this has any influence in any way, the answer is going to be no, at the same time, we think we have circumstantial evidence that several justices take into account the political climate, the political consequences of their decisions.

Images & Illustrations of circumstantial evidence

  1. circumstantial evidencecircumstantial evidencecircumstantial evidence

Translations for circumstantial evidence

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

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"circumstantial evidence." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2018. Web. 22 Feb. 2018. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/circumstantial evidence>.

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