(1) a piece of paper that is evidence of ownership. A stock certificate is evidence of ownership of one or more shares of a corporation. A savings certificate is evidence that the holder owns a savings account, usually one in which a fixed amount of funds is deposited for a specified term. (2) a form of paper money. It is a receipt for silver or gold held by the government. U.S. silver certificates are the best known. The privilege to redeem the paper certificate for the gold or silver backing it was revoked by Congress on June 14, 1968. (3) any written or printed document that can be used as proof of a fact.