over·​prom·​ise ˌō-vər-ˈprä-məs How to pronounce overpromise (audio)
overpromised; overpromising

transitive + intransitive

: to promise more than is possible or realistic
Political candidates always overpromise or else the electorate won't bother to show up at their rallies.Michael Gomez
… received sharp criticism for overpromising and underperforming.Industry Week
Then a change in the Facebook algorithm punished click bait, which can tend to overpromise on what it links to. Steep traffic drops followed.Jim Rutenberg
To close a deal, bad vendors tend to overpromise features that they claim will be added down the line but never materialize.Michael Kan

Examples of overpromise in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Starting a clean energy trade war, which would likely provoke China into taking retaliatory action, or overpromising on industrial policies is not the solution. Henry Sanderson, Foreign Affairs, 2 Jan. 2024 After all, it’s been more than a decade since former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos famously overpromised and under-delivered a flock of high-speed delivery drones jetting out all your Prime purchases in a Jetson-like whir of efficiency. Jennifer Jolly, USA TODAY, 4 Apr. 2024 People will overpromise and be too altruistic in a very unrealistic way. Rob Reddick, WIRED, 28 Feb. 2024 Vendors will overpromise and overcharge their clients. Shane Snow, Forbes, 27 Mar. 2023 And more importantly, wouldn’t this lead to overpromising what AI can do? Emilia David, The Verge, 13 Jan. 2024 The potential for screening to save lives was overpromised, especially for young women. Peggy Orenstein, New York Times, 22 Dec. 2023 Ultimately, the states’ case will hinge on whether Meta overpromised and underdelivered in terms of protections for children—and even if the states lose, new laws being pursued across states and countries could force curbs on features. WIRED, 24 Oct. 2023 But in their zeal to outgun each other with AI, companies have overpromised and underdelivered in ways that risk disappointing you and poisoning the public’s faith in AI for years to come. Shira Ovide, Washington Post, 29 Sep. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'overpromise.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1677, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of overpromise was in 1677

Dictionary Entries Near overpromise

Cite this Entry

“Overpromise.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/overpromise. Accessed 21 Jun. 2024.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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