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Latin potestativus, from potestas power: compare French potestatif. See potent.


potestative (comparative more potestative, superlative most potestative)

  1. (obsolete) authoritative
    • c. 1683 John Pearson, An Exposition of the Creed. Reprinted by J.F. Dove: London, 1832. Article I, p 66. (online)
      The third branch of God's authoritative or potestative power consisteth in the use of all things in his possession, by virtue of his absolute dominion.
  2. (law) of a condition in a legal contract: being completely controlled by exactly one of the parties to the contract
    • 1843 John Bouvier, A Law Dictionary. Reprinted by G.W. Childs: Philadelphia, 1864. Entry for "Condition", p. 264. (online)
      A potestative condition is that which is in the power of the person in whose favor it is contracted; as, if I engage to give my neighbor a sum of money, in case he cuts down a tree which obstructs my prospect.
    • 1962 William Shelby McKenzie, "Obligations — Potestative Conditions — Right to Terminate In Employment Contracts", Louisiana Law Review vol. 22 (online)
      Articles 1170 and 1174 of the French Civil Code deal with potestative conditions. The former defines as potestative a contractual condition the fulfillment of which is within the power of one of the contracting parties to bring about or hinder. The latter article provides that every obligation contracted on a potestative condition on the part of him who purports to bind himself is null.



potestative f

  1. feminine plural of potestativo