Sometimes it is Greek: Testator/Testatrix

Each week, “It’s not GREek!” will discuss a new word likely to appear on the GRE.  We aim not only to give you a new word to memorize, but also to provide you with some background and etymological history to help you remember it.  At the end of the post, we will also give you a sentence with a few other new words to add to your flash cards.  By following this weekly series, you should be more prepared than ever to tackle the sentence completion, sentence equivalencies, and reading comprehension questions on test day.

This Week’s Word:  Testator/Testatrix

What better day to contemplate morbid things such as writing your will in your 20s than Friday the 13th?

Some students have said graduate school will be the death of them.  Before going to your premature graduate school grave, have you considered writing your last will and testament? If so, you are either a testator or testatrix, depending on your gender.

A testator is a man who has written a will and a testatrix is a woman who has written a will.

Like most terminology derived from legalese, the origins of testator are Latin, from the verb testari, which means “to make a will,” “be witness,” or “declare.”  A slew of related words come from these roots, including:
testacy – the status of being testate, in other words, having executed a will
intestacy – the status of not having made a will, or having died without a valid will
Testament, testimonial, testimony, and testify also share similar roots.

So don’t remain in a state of intestacy!  Find a lawyer and write that last will and testament before it’s too late. *Cue ominous music.*

Sample Sentence:

Tammy tried  to terminate her state of intestacy with a simple testament but was thwarted by the discovery of a trove of family treasures she had to tactfully distribute amongst her children.

Miss last week’s “Sometimes it is Greek?” Check it out here.  Want more GRE vocabulary? Click here for the free TestMasters GRE vocabulary list with over 2,000 words!

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