codicil

noun

cod·​i·​cil ˈkä-də-səl How to pronounce codicil (audio)
-ˌsil
1
: a legal instrument made to modify an earlier will
2
codicillary adjective

Did you know?

A codicil is literally a "little codex," a little bit of writing on a small piece of writing material, used to add to or change something about a larger piece of writing. A codicil to a will can change the terms of the original will completely, so it generally requires witnesses just like the will itself, though in some states a handwritten codicil may not. In mystery novels, such changes have been known to cause murders; in real life, codicils aren't usually quite that exciting.

Example Sentences

a codicil to the treaty was necessary to clarify certain provisos that had proved to be ambiguous
Recent Examples on the Web The codicil — which is to be found in the same reality that gave rise to the concept of a casual restaurant — is not to disturb other diners. Washington Post, 17 Nov. 2021 In 1990 Donald secretly enlisted a lawyer to draft a codicil to the will of his father, Fred Sr. Anne Diebel, The New York Review of Books, 24 Sep. 2020 In 1990 Donald secretly enlisted a lawyer to draft a codicil to the will of his father, Fred Sr. Anne Diebel, The New York Review of Books, 24 Sep. 2020 In 1990 Donald secretly enlisted a lawyer to draft a codicil to the will of his father, Fred Sr. Anne Diebel, The New York Review of Books, 24 Sep. 2020 In 1990 Donald secretly enlisted a lawyer to draft a codicil to the will of his father, Fred Sr. Anne Diebel, The New York Review of Books, 24 Sep. 2020 In 1990 Donald secretly enlisted a lawyer to draft a codicil to the will of his father, Fred Sr. Anne Diebel, The New York Review of Books, 24 Sep. 2020 In 1990 Donald secretly enlisted a lawyer to draft a codicil to the will of his father, Fred Sr. Anne Diebel, The New York Review of Books, 24 Sep. 2020 But there was a secret codicil: Kennedy agreed to withdraw Jupiter missiles from Turkey that could reach Moscow as quickly as Soviet missiles in Cuba could reach Washington. Washington Post, 30 Apr. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'codicil.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

Etymology

Middle English codicill, from Anglo-French *codicille, from Latin codicillus, diminutive of codic-, codex

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of codicil was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near codicil

Cite this Entry

“Codicil.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/codicil. Accessed 3 Dec. 2022.

Legal Definition

codicil

noun

cod·​i·​cil ˈkä-də-səl, -ˌsil How to pronounce codicil (audio)
: a formally executed document made after a will that adds to, subtracts from, or changes the will see also republish

History and Etymology for codicil

Latin codicillus, literally, writing tablet, diminutive of codic-, codex book see code

More from Merriam-Webster on codicil

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!


Challenging Words You Should Know

  • hedgehog reading a book
  • Often used to describe “the march of time,” what does inexorable mean?
Name That Thing

You know what it looks like… but what is it called?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ