In this context, a family of a late grandfather is outraged because the deceased man decided to bequeath all his inheritance to a person which wasn't even a part of the family.

This conversation is between a person(executor of the will I guess)who was reading the will to the family

They are obviously angry and protest against it and ask if there are any safeguards against his decision and they question the sanity of the old man(they basically try everything to annul that decision). The sentence i've trouble with is from the person reading the will.

"You, not liking what he did does not speak to testamentary capacity"

What does speak to mean in this context?

Does it have anything to do with this def from TFD? 3. formal to give evidence of or comments on (a subject): who will speak to this item?.

  • I find it a very strange use. I think it must mean "relate to" or "have a bearing on".
    – Colin Fine
    Commented Oct 18, 2021 at 15:43

1 Answer 1


In this classic scene it's usually the family solicitor (lawyer) who reads out the will, and this sounds like legal language.

I think you have the right of it. I found this definition in the Longman online dictionary:

to show that a situation exists or something is true

In other words, their not liking Grandfather's decision is not evidence that he was mentally incapable of making a valid will.

  • It's very American. Commented Oct 18, 2021 at 17:04
  • I'm surprised it's unfamiliar to so many. I don't think it's particularly limited to legal contexts or (as far as I know) American English, but perhaps more of an academic use. General translation would be "indicates" or "has something to do with." books.google.com/ngrams/… google.com/books/edition/Wilson/… google.com/books/edition/The_Point_Is_To_Change_It/… Commented Oct 18, 2021 at 17:20
  • A quick Google ngram viewer search shows it has origins in at least the 19th century, but few, and early hits are all legal in nature, in books or works referring to courts or other similar proceedings. There is also a difference in the use of "speak to" in the sense above, and the way it is commonly used to mean "speak about ___ with some knowledge" often heard today in business meetings and academia.
    – B. Findlay
    Commented Feb 22 at 21:28

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