• nuncupative
  • audio pronunciation
  • \NUN-kyoo-pay-tiv\
  • DEFINITION

adjective

: spoken rather than written : oral
  • EXAMPLES

On his deathbed Jacob made a nuncupative will for his son and daughter.

"He left me a small Legacy in a nuncupative Will, as a Token of his Kindness for me." — From The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)

  • DID YOU KNOW?

"Nuncupative" (from Latin "nuncupare," meaning "to name") has been part of the English language since at least the mid-16th century, most typically appearing in legal contexts as a modifier of the noun "will." The nuncupative will originated in Roman law, where it consisted of an oral declaration made in the presence of seven witnesses and later presented before a magistrate. Currently, nuncupative wills are allowed in some U.S. states in extreme circumstances, such as imminent peril of death from a terminal illness or from military or maritime service. Such wills are dictated orally but are usually required to be set down in writing within a statutorily specified time period, such as 30 days. Witnesses are required, though the number seven is no longer specified.

Test Your Memory: What is the meaning of "lugubrious," our Word of the Day from September 9? The answer is ...

  • MORE WORDS OF THE DAY

Visit our archives to see previous selections ยป

  • FEATURED ITEM FROM OUR STORE

An expressive t-shirt:

"Use Your Words"

Browse all items »

  • PODCAST

Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP

  • SUBSCRIBE

Subscribe to the Word of the Day e-mail

Manage Your Account