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testament

[tes-tuh-muh nt] /ˈtɛs tə mənt/
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.
Origin
1250-1300
1250-1300; Middle English: will, covenant < Latin testāmentum, equivalent to testā() to bear witness (see testate) + -mentum -ment
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for testaments

testament

/ˈtɛstəmənt/
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 tribute: his success was a testament to his skills
3.
  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
Derived Forms
testamental, adjective
Word Origin
C14: from Latin: a will, from testārī to bear witness, from testis a witness

Testament

/ˈtɛstəmənt/
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
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
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Word Origin and History for testaments

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."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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testaments in the Bible

occurs twelve times in the New Testament (Heb. 9:15, etc.) as the rendering of the Gr. diatheke, which is twenty times rendered "covenant" in the Authorized Version, and always so in the Revised Version. The Vulgate translates incorrectly by testamentum, whence the names "Old" and "New Testament," by which we now designate the two sections into which the Bible is divided. (See BIBLE.)

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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