noun prem·ise \ˈpre-məs\
variants: or less commonly


Definition of premise

  1. 1a :  a proposition antecedently supposed or proved as a basis of argument or inference; specifically :  either of the first two propositions of a syllogism from which the conclusion is drawnb :  something assumed or taken for granted :  presupposition

  2. 2 premises also premisses plural :  matters previously stated; specifically :  the preliminary and explanatory part of a deed or of a bill in equity

  3. 3 premises also premisses plural [from its being identified in the premises of the deed] a :  a tract of land with the buildings thereonb :  a building or part of a building usually with its appurtenances (such as grounds)

Examples of premise in a Sentence

  1. Called behavioral ecology, it starts from the premise that social and environmental forces select for various behaviors that optimize people's fitness in a given environment. Different environment, different behaviors—and different human “natures.” —Sharon Begley, Newsweek, 29 June 2009

  2. Although the Voting Rights Act served, in some measure, to formalize the notion of racial representation, its consequences undermined its premise—that a transparency of interests existed between the representative and the represented. —Henry Louis Gates, Jr., New Yorker, 24 Oct. 1994

  3. Thirty years ago the modesty of the general expectation was still consistent with the original American premise of self-government. —Lewis H. Lapham, Harper's, November 1992

  4. They were asked to leave the premises.

  5. The company leases part of the premises to smaller businesses.

  6. The premises were searched by the police.

  7. He disagreed with her premise.

  8. the basic premises of the argument

  9. a theory based on the simple premise that what goes up must come down

Origin and Etymology of premise

in sense 1, from Middle English premisse, from Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin praemissa, from Latin, feminine of praemissus, past participle of praemittere to place ahead, from prae- pre- + mittere to send; in other senses, from Middle English premisses, from Medieval Latin praemissa, from Latin, neuter plural of praemissus

First Known Use: 14th century



verb pre·mise \ˈpre-məs also pri-ˈmīz\

Definition of premise




  1. transitive verb
  2. 1a :  to set forth beforehand as an introduction or a postulateb :  to offer as a premise in an argument

  3. 2 :  postulate

  4. 3 :  to base on certain assumptions

Examples of premise in a Sentence

  1. Niebuhr … adhered to a form of liberalism more premised on a realistic assessment of human nature than Rauschenbusch's naïve progressivism was. —Alan Wolfe, New York Times Book Review, 21 Oct. 2007

  2. Fears of a nuclear holocaust were fueled by President Nixon's “madman” theory of diplomacy. The madman theory was premised on the assumption that if the Soviets thought that Nixon was crazy enough to drop the bomb, they would leave us alone. —Will Manley, Booklist, 1 & 15 June 2006

  3. let us premise certain things, such as every person's need for love, before beginning our line of reasoning

Origin and Etymology of premise

see 1premise

First Known Use: 1526

PREMISE Defined for English Language Learners



Definition of premise for English Language Learners

  • premises : a building and the area of land that it is on

  • : a statement or idea that is accepted as being true and that is used as the basis of an argument

PREMISE Defined for Kids


noun prem·ise \ˈpre-məs\

Definition of premise for Students

  1. 1 :  a statement or idea taken to be true and on which an argument or reasoning may be based

  2. 2 premises plural :  a piece of land with the buildings on it

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of or relating to bile

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