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testament

[tes-tuh-muh nt]
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noun
  1. Law.
    1. a will, especially one that relates to the disposition of one's personal property.
    2. will2(def 8).
  2. either of the two major portions of the Bible: the Mosaic or old covenant or dispensation, or the Christian or new covenant or dispensation.
  3. (initial capital letter) the New Testament, as distinct from the Old Testament.
  4. (initial capital letter) a copy of the New Testament.
  5. a covenant, especially between God and humans.
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Origin of testament

1250–1300; Middle English: will, covenant < Latin testāmentum, equivalent to testā(rī) to bear witness (see testate) + -mentum -ment
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

prooftestimonialtestimonycovenantconfirmationearnestevidencewillinstrumentattestationcolloquydemonstrationwitnessexemplification

Examples from the Web for testament

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Cornelius then read to Rosa the testament that he had just made.

    The Black Tulip

    Alexandre Dumas (Pere)

  • It's a sort of last will and testament in favour of the troupe.

    Scaramouche

    Rafael Sabatini

  • No, this letter is just a ‘last will and testament,’ as the lawyers have it.

  • Reach me the Testament, granny, there's a verse I'll read to you.'

    Poppy's Presents

    Mrs O. F. Walton

  • He took a fresh piece of paper, and traced on it the words: "This is my last will and testament."

    A Set of Six

    Joseph Conrad


British Dictionary definitions for testament

testament

noun
  1. law a will setting out the disposition of personal property (esp in the phrase last will and testament)
  2. a proof, attestation, or tributehis success was a testament to his skills
    1. a covenant instituted between God and man, esp the covenant of Moses or that instituted by Christ
    2. a copy of either the Old or the New Testament, or of the complete Bible
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Derived Formstestamental, adjective

Word Origin

C14: from Latin: a will, from testārī to bear witness, from testis a witness

Testament

noun
  1. either of the two main parts of the Bible; the Old Testament or the New Testament
  2. the New Testament as distinct from the Old
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Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for testament

n.

late 13c., "last will disposing of property," from Latin testamentum "a will, publication of a will," from testari "make a will, be witness to," from testis "witness," from PIE *tris- "three" (see three) on the notion of "third person, disinterested witness."

Use in reference to the two divisions of the Bible (c.1300) is from Late Latin vetus testamentum and novum testamentum, loan-translations of Greek palaia diatheke and kaine diatheke. Late Latin testamentum in this case was a mistranslation of Greek diatheke, which meant both "covenant, dispensation" and "will, testament," and was used in the former sense in the account of the Last Supper (see testimony) but subsequently was interpreted as Christ's "last will."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper