premise

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

Definition of premise

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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 drawn
b : something assumed or taken for granted : presupposition
2 premises also premisses plural : matters previously stated specifically : the preliminary and explanatory part of a deed or of a bill in equity

3 premises also premisses plural [ from its being identified in the premises of the deed ]

a : a tract of land with the buildings thereon
b : a building or part of a building usually with its appurtenances (such as grounds)

premise

verb
pre·​mise | \ ˈpre-məs also pri-ˈmīz \
premised; premising

Definition of premise (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to set forth beforehand as an introduction or a postulate
b : to offer as a premise in an argument
2 : postulate
3 : to base on certain assumptions

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Examples of premise in a Sentence

Noun

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 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 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 They were asked to leave the premises. The company leases part of the premises to smaller businesses. The premises were searched by the police. He disagreed with her premise. the basic premises of the argument a theory based on the simple premise that what goes up must come down

Verb

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 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 let us premise certain things, such as every person's need for love, before beginning our line of reasoning
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The premise is essentially that making Siri work on the HomePod is harder than on the iPhone for that reason. Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, "Apple published a surprising amount of detail about how the HomePod works," 3 Dec. 2018 Bridget Jones’s Diary The entire premise behind Bridget Jones is founded on the concept of New Year’s resolutions. Vogue, "The Best New Year’s Eve–Theme Movies and TV Shows to Watch Tonight," 31 Dec. 2018 Season one's final twist completely blew up the show's original premise. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "TV Technica 2018: Our favorite shows and binges," 24 Dec. 2018 The premise and characters of Killing Eve were inspired by the Codename Villanelle novellas by Luke Jennings. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, "Killing Eve: Everything We Know So Far About Season 2," 24 Dec. 2018 Go down the road, take the absurd premise and sort of take it all the way? Eric Johnson, Recode, "Full Q&A: NBC journalists Chuck Todd, Andrea Mitchell and Hallie Jackson on Recode Decode," 5 Dec. 2018 Well, none of us can, but that's precisely what makes the movie's innocent comedic premise so addicting—even after 15 years. Taylor Mead, House Beautiful, "How The Elf Set Designers Built Santa's Workshop Around Will Ferrell," 8 Nov. 2018 Hao said, referring to the premise that Beijing made a conciliatory gesture after trade frictions took a marked turn for the worse in September. Gerry Shih, The Seattle Times, "China greenlights large batch of Ivanka Trump trademark applications," 6 Nov. 2018 Jenna isn't into this—not because of the dress or the lame premise. Anna Moeslein, Glamour, "Bachelor in Paradise Season 5, Episode 10 Recap: These Breakups Are Hard to Watch," 10 Sep. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

And speaking of the FISA court, isn't your whole investigation premised on a fake dossier paid for by Hillary, created by a man who hates Donald Trump and used two con a FISA court judge? Fox News, "Judge Jeanine: I want the Mueller probe to go on and on," 12 Aug. 2018 Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images Democracy is premised on the idea that political power is only legitimate when exercised with the consent of the governed. Zack Beauchamp, Vox, "The Wisconsin power grab is part of a bigger Republican attack on democracy," 6 Dec. 2018 It is premised on Democratic victories in next month’s elections and the 2020 presidential contest that could leave Democrats in charge of Congress and the White House in 2021. Mark Sherman, The Seattle Times, "New campaign seeks support for expanded Supreme Court," 16 Oct. 2018 Even then, it was premised on the exclusion of black people. Park Macdougald, Daily Intelligencer, "Can America’s Two Tribes Learn to Live Together?," 19 Apr. 2018 MoviePass dramatically cut the price of its subscription theater-ticket service immediately after 2017’s disastrous summer, and its entire business was premised on continued declines in theater attendance. David Z. Morris, Fortune, "U.S. Summer Box Office Surges Back to Near-Record Levels," 30 June 2018 The administration had pointed to the Chad decision to show that the restrictions were premised only on national security concerns. Mark Sherman, The Seattle Times, "High court OKs Trump’s travel ban, rejects Muslim bias claim," 26 June 2018 The Trump Tower session was more than that; it was premised on dirt-digging that didn’t pan out. Howard Kurtz, Fox News, "Breaking news on Trump Tower meeting with Russians contains little news," 17 May 2018 The judgment here, premised on a decision of a federal court of appeals, provides more than enough basis to justify the recision of DACA. Josh Blackman, National Review, "A Ludicrous Ruling That Trump Can’t End DACA," 10 Jan. 2018

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

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First Known Use of premise

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

1526, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for premise

Noun and Verb

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

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Learn More about premise

Dictionary Entries near premise

premineral

premio

premisal

premise

premised on/upon

premit

premium

Statistics for premise

Last Updated

19 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for premise

The first known use of premise was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for premise

premise

noun

English Language Learners Definition of premise

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

noun
prem·​ise | \ ˈpre-məs \

Kids Definition of premise

1 : a statement or idea taken to be true and on which an argument or reasoning may be based
2 premises plural : a piece of land with the buildings on it

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Comments on premise

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