Definition of testament in English:



  • 1A person's will, especially the part relating to personal property.

    ‘father's will and testament’
    • ‘Although in principle, testaments and codicils need not differ in making bequests to different groups of legatees, in fact we observe such differences.’
    • ‘In the U.S., with economics as the focal social institution, last words and testaments will deal with the disposition of goods.’
    • ‘It has now been over seven years since Keith's death and his last will and testament has still not been honoured.’
    • ‘An edged instrument from one of these makers is a cherished possession that's often listed in last wills and testaments.’
    • ‘If the executors come and the testament is proved, the claimant shall have seisin of the property.’
    • ‘Miss Beukes said that one must have a law degree and extensive experience in the field of wills and testaments.’
    • ‘The popular booklet on ‘Wills, Testaments and Estates in Namibia’ is to be translated into eight vernacular languages to educate all Namibians on principles of law pertaining to testaments and wills.’
    • ‘Among other material now available online is Scotland's statutory registers of births, deaths and marriages along with wills and testaments.’
    • ‘The manual, launched on 22 February, will help in writing wills and testaments.’
    • ‘His personal interest is demonstrated by his ‘will’ or testament in 1448, which included a detailed plan.’
    • ‘He hired James Graham, a wastepaper merchant, to snap up any marriage certificates, diplomas, deeds, mortgages, leases, estate maps, court records, warrants, fines, recoveries, or last wills and testaments that he came upon.’
    • ‘By the mid-fourteenth century, another specialized court emerged to hear, and record, public acknowledgements of property transfers, known as recognizances, including those made through testaments.’
    • ‘His testament was drawn up on 26 May 1349 and received probate on 8 June.’
    • ‘As the last surviving reference to Jacopa della Frascha, this will may well mark her final testament on her death.’
    • ‘The documents range from Lord Halifax's family archives to Charlotte Bronte's final testament, to humble title deeds.’
    • ‘His last Will and testament attempted to anticipate possible conflicts among the heirs.’
    • ‘In her last will and testament she left her assets equally to her husband and her children, being one quarter share each.’
    • ‘A framer in Washington, D.C., is rehousing George and Martha Washingtons' last wills and testaments with Alpharag Artcare.’
    • ‘Leighton used her job at the Treasury Solicitors to search the homes of the dead for their last wills and testaments to place and recover forged documents.’
    • ‘Another source of information recently added to the site are wills and testaments held in Scotland from 1513 to 1901.’
    last will and testament, last wishes
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  • 2Something that serves as a sign or evidence of a specified fact, event, or quality.

    ‘growing attendance figures are a testament to the event's popularity’
    • ‘Both the Coach and Horses, in High Street and The Hope, in West Street, are both still serving today and stand as a testament to the area's lively heritage.’
    • ‘It is a testament to the book's quality that one can disagree with its thesis while thoroughly enjoying its argument and prose.’
    • ‘But Kimbrough's music is what this compilation is all about, and this tribute is a testament to the power of his songwriting.’
    • ‘It is a testament to the quality of the actors that they were able to wring rudimentary sympathy out of this stupefying script.’
    • ‘It will stand as a testament (like the sound they created) to their importance in the world of music.’
    • ‘This production of Big Love is a testament to the quality of SFU's theatre program.’
    • ‘As well as thanking the Royal Hospital for Nigel's excellent care, Sue also wants the marathon to serve as a testament to the courage of her friends.’
    • ‘The fact that this film is still as affecting 25 years on, is only testament to its quality.’
    • ‘Equally impressive are her empowering lyrics, which, at their best, are testaments to personal battles won.’
    • ‘Keith's achievements have made him something of a role model, bearing testament to the fact that his disability is incidental to his life.’
    • ‘The tale is a testament to the fact that the past cannot be reclaimed once lost.’
    • ‘Belinda is a very courageous person and she is testament to the fact that people do survive cancer.’
    • ‘If this is true, it is a testament to the fact that advances in technology do not always represent progress for humankind.’
    • ‘They respond with some fine, committed playing, a testament to the fine quality of this orchestra.’
    • ‘This 1972 short serves as a worthy testament to Larkin's endless imagination and mastery of movement and composition.’
    • ‘The sportsmanship amongst the players was absolutely marvellous and the whole event was a testament to how popular snooker remains.’
    • ‘There's plenty of research now which bears testament to the fact that our emotions can have far-reaching consequences for our physical health.’
    • ‘The perilous trials observed by all involved in order to organize this event constitute another testament to the enduring appeal of the bard.’
    • ‘Thankfully, his many films and performances will live on as testaments to his great talent.’
    • ‘The strength of the customer base is testament to the product quality.’
    testimony, witness, evidence, proof, attestation
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  • 3(in biblical use) a covenant or dispensation.

    • ‘The testament / covenant was based on pistis, the trust fund that God established with Abraham.’
    • ‘Deuteronomy is cast as the last testament of Moses to the people, prior to his death and the entry of the people into the Land under Joshua.’
    1. 3.1 A division of the Bible.
      • ‘The second principal aspect of the church's traditional formulation of the unity of the Testaments is perhaps the most familiar.’
      • ‘Bugnini goes on to list the biblical scholars who were then asked by the coetus in 1965, thirty-one in all, to select all the passages from both Testaments that they thought would be suitable for liturgical use.’
      • ‘In one sense this is a novelty - to write a work on biblical theology which in fact treats of both Testaments from a Old Testament perspective.’
      • ‘This is a simple matter of recapturing an appreciation of the nonverbal and verbal symbols of both Testaments.’
      • ‘The question is posed regardless of whether a theology of the Old Testament is explicitly concerned with the relation between the two Testaments.’
      • ‘His subtly articulated, Augustinian view of a single covenant bestriding both Testaments is well worth revisiting.’
      • ‘In the light of all this, the question of how, precisely, the church ought to understand the relation between the two Testaments clearly belongs among those contemporary theological issues that stand in urgent need of rearticulation.’
      • ‘One volume looks at the nature of biblical interpretation, covering both Testaments.’
      • ‘A reflection on the concept of God in both Testaments is necessitated by the fact that the Old Testament serves as the sacred text for the two religions of Judaism and Christianity.’
      • ‘For both scholars, the two Testaments are part of the theological enterprise; theirs is a biblical theology.’
      • ‘Upper-level college texts focusing on individual biblical books from both Testaments further complement the series.’
      • ‘To read one Testament in light of the other will enhance appreciation of both; for Catholics to read the two Testaments together with Jews will do the same.’
      • ‘The connection between the Testaments is best seen from the point of view of continuity of ideas, especially those we experience daily.’
      • ‘Some printers put books called Apocrypha between the Testaments, some don't.’
      • ‘We are now ready to look at what commentary is available from between the Testaments.’
      • ‘Barr suggests not only that biblical theology is not theology in the doctrinal sense, but that a serious unification of both Testaments can be accomplished only with doctrinal, not biblical theology.’
      • ‘Lengeling provides tables of the frequency of readings from both Testaments in fourteen Western liturgical books but without indicating where there might be only one such usage on the vigil of a feast not celebrated widely.’
      • ‘A biblical theology should make comprehensible the context of commonality and difference between the two Testaments.’
      • ‘The book-length study embraces both Testaments.’
      • ‘Herein lies the evangelical insistence on lifting up the central apostolic message preserved in the Christian Testament.’
    2. 3.2 A copy of the New Testament.
      ‘he was able to buy a Testament’
      • ‘His passions included garage sales and auction sales, at which he freely distributed Christian literature and Gideon testaments.’
      • ‘Retelling stories from both the Old and New Testaments, The Brick Testament uses Lego to do the Lord's work.’
      • ‘Each of the Testaments has its own separate paging; the reference here is to the New Testament paging.’
      • ‘We might fill India with Bibles and Testaments, and religious books of all kinds, and school-books, at one third of the existing price.’


Middle English: from Latin testamentum ‘a will’ (from testari ‘testify’), in Christian Latin also translating Greek diathēkē ‘covenant’.