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definition of the word testament

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< Middle English < Old French < Latin testamentum (the publication of a will, a will, testament, in Late Latin one of the divisions of the Bible) < testari (to be a witness, testify, attest, make a will) < testis (one who attests, a witness).



testament (plural testaments)

  1. (law) A solemn, authentic instrument in writing, by which a person declares his or her will as to disposal of his or her estate and effects after his or her death.
    Note: This is otherwise called a will, and sometimes a last will and testament. A testament, to be valid, must be made by a person of sound mind; and it must be executed and published in due form of law. A man or woman, in certain cases, may make a valid will by word of mouth only. See {Nuncupative will}, under {nuncupative}.
  2. One of the two distinct revelations of God's purposes toward man; a covenant; also, one of the two general divisions of the canonical books of the sacred Scriptures, in which the covenants are respectively revealed; as, the Old Testament; the New Testament; -- often limited, in colloquial language, to the latter.
    He is the mediator of the new testament . . . for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament. --Heb. IX. 15.

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