promise

noun
prom·​ise | \ ˈprä-məs \

Definition of promise

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a declaration that one will do or refrain from doing something specified
b : a legally binding declaration that gives the person to whom it is made a right to expect or to claim the performance or forbearance of a specified act
2 : reason to expect something little promise of relief especially : ground for expectation of success, improvement, or excellence shows considerable promise
3 : something that is promised

promise

verb
promised; promising

Definition of promise (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to pledge to do, bring about, or provide promise aid
2 archaic : warrant, assure
3 chiefly dialectal : betroth
4 : to suggest beforehand : give promise of dark clouds promise rain

intransitive verb

1 : to make a promise
2 : to give ground for expectation : be imminent

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Other Words from promise

Verb

promisee \ ˌprä-​mə-​ˈsē \ noun
promisor \ ˌprä-​mə-​ˈsȯr \ or less commonly promiser \ ˈprä-​mə-​sər \ noun

Synonyms for promise

Synonyms: Noun

oath, pledge, troth, vow, word

Synonyms: Verb

covenant, pledge, swear, vow

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Examples of promise in a Sentence

Noun

She gave me her promise. She never made a promise that she didn't intend to keep. There is little promise of relief in the forecast. They were attracted by the promise of success. a sunny morning that gives every promise of a fine day There is a promise of better days ahead.

Verb

Promise me that you won't tell anyone. I can't promise you that I'll be able to go, but I'll do my best. The governor promised that the prisoners would receive a fair trial. She promised to announce the results tomorrow. International organizations have promised aid. I promise to be careful. You always promise, but you never do what you say you will. “I won't tell anyone.” “Promise?” “Yes, I promise.” Those gray skies promise rain.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

These policies alone were not enough – the United States has never been on target to fulfill its Paris promises. Chris Mooney, The Seattle Times, "U.S. greenhouse gas emissions spiked in 2018 – and it couldn’t happen at a worse time," 9 Jan. 2019 Tesla still has to make good on its original promise to deliver a version of the car that starts at $35,000, which Musk delayed until 2019 in order to focus on more expensive, higher-margin trims. Sean O'kane, The Verge, "The Verge 2018 tech report card: Tesla," 29 Dec. 2018 Big branding opportunities Orlando, Florida’s bid included the standard array of tax breaks and investment options, but stood apart with its promise to give the company a new kind of graphics treatment. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Amazon HQ2 bids: The weird ways cities wanted to woo Bezos," 27 Dec. 2018 Given Glow Recipe’s reputation for making good on their promise of radiant skin, Sweet Chef’s products are sure to be a worthwhile investment. Tess Garcia, Teen Vogue, "Glow Recipe Announced the Upcoming Launch of a Target Line Called Sweet Chef," 27 Dec. 2018 Now that winter has arrived, these unions are being called upon to live up to their promises. Shirin Ghaffary, Recode, "As digital media companies brace for change, unions try to cushion the blow," 26 Dec. 2018 Luckily there’s still some time left in the year to make good on your promise. Adam Schubak, Good Housekeeping, "5 Things to Do Before 2018 Ends That Will Help You Kick Off 2019," 30 Nov. 2018 There is another path open to them, Jamie points out: Accept Governor Tryon's offer of a vast land grant in the mountains with all its promise and risk. Outlander Fan, Marie Claire, "5 Biggest Takeaways From 'Outlander' Season 4's Second Episode," 12 Nov. 2018 One year into the job, Sony Pictures Entertainment chairman-CEO Tony Vinciquerra continues to make good on his promise to streamline and reorganize operations at the Hollywood studio. Pamela Mcclintock, The Hollywood Reporter, "Sony Pictures Issues Layoffs as Part of Marketing Reorganization," 11 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Vaquera’s performance is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 28, promising a cast of artist, model, and actor collaborators. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "Vaquera Is Taking On The Wizard of Oz at MoMA PS1," 4 Jan. 2019 Release: May 31, 2019 Preliminary verdict: Looks promising Five years after Gareth Edwards's Godzilla, the King of Monsters returns. Darren Orf, Popular Mechanics, "The 2019 Sci-Fi Film Guide," 3 Jan. 2019 Early last week, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted that the company would cover the full tax credit for customers whose Teslas arrived after the December 31 deadline, if the customer was promised a pre-January 1 delivery date. Megan Geuss, Ars Technica, "Report: Tesla has more than 3,300 Model 3s remaining in US inventory," 31 Dec. 2018 The devastating twist that Chicago Fire fans were promised came next, when Casey got up from bed and found Naomi's entire apartment on fire. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "'Chicago Fire' Recap: Everything You Missed During the Devastating Fall Finale," 6 Dec. 2018 The group works with researchers and pharmaceutical companies to bring promising drugs to clinical trial. Shelley Levitt, Woman's Day, "These 4 Inspirational Women Went to Great Lengths for Their Kids," 4 Dec. 2018 Following in her aunt Princes Diana’s footsteps, Eugenie promised in her vows to love, comfort, honor, and keep her husband, but not obey him. Emma Dibdin, Town & Country, "All the Ways Princess Eugenie's Wedding Broke Royal Tradition," 12 Oct. 2018 From Cleveland to Columbus, Ohio, many HQ2 proposals promised extensive investment in new rail lines and expansion of existing services. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Amazon HQ2 bids: The weird ways cities wanted to woo Bezos," 27 Dec. 2018 After years of plummeting sales, store closures, and flight of executives, J.Crew promised a fresh relaunch this fall. Chavie Lieber, Vox, "A breakdown of this year’s brand winners and losers.," 27 Dec. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'promise.' 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 promise

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for promise

Noun

Middle English promis, from Latin promissum, from neuter of promissus, past participle of promittere to send forth, promise, from pro- forth + mittere to send

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Statistics for promise

Last Updated

15 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for promise

The first known use of promise was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for promise

promise

noun

English Language Learners Definition of promise

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a statement telling someone that you will definitely do something or that something will definitely happen in the future

: an indication of future success or improvement

: a reason to expect that something will happen in the future

promise

verb

English Language Learners Definition of promise (Entry 2 of 2)

: to tell someone that you will definitely do something or that something will definitely happen in the future

: to make (something) seem likely : to show signs of (something that is likely or expected to happen)

promise

noun
prom·​ise | \ ˈprä-məs \

Kids Definition of promise

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a statement by a person that he or she will do or not do something I made a promise to pay within a month.
2 : a cause or ground for hope These plans give promise of success.

promise

verb
promised; promising

Kids Definition of promise (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to state that something will or will not be done I promise to clean my room this afternoon.
2 : to give reason to expect Dark clouds promise rain.

promise

noun
prom·​ise

Legal Definition of promise

: a declaration or manifestation especially in a contract of an intention to act or refrain from acting in a specified way that gives the party to whom it is made a right to expect its fulfillment
aleatory promise
: a promise (as to compensate an insured individual for future loss) whose fulfillment is dependent on a fortuitous or uncertain event
collateral promise
: a promise usually to pay the debt of another that is ancillary to an original promise, is not made for the benefit of the party making it, and must be in writing to be enforceable
false promise
: a promise that is made with no intention of carrying it out and especially with intent to deceive or defraud
gratuitous promise
: a promise that is made without consideration and is usually unenforceable

called also naked promise

— compare nudum pactum

Note: A gratuitous promise may be enforceable under promissory estoppel.

illusory promise
: a purported promise that does not actually bind the party making it to a particular performance an illusory promise depending solely on the will of the supposed promisor
implied promise
: a promise that is considered to exist despite the lack of an agreement or express terms to that effect and the breach of which may be recognized as a cause of action claimed a breach of an implied promise that he would not be terminated at will — see also promise implied in fact and promise implied in law in this entry
naked promise
: gratuitous promise in this entry
original promise
: a promise (as in a suretyship) usually to pay the debt of another that is made primarily for the benefit of the party making it and need not be in writing to be enforceable — compare collateral promise in this entry, main purpose rule
promise implied in fact
: an implied promise that exists by inference from specific facts, circumstances, or acts of the parties
promise implied in law
: an implied promise that exists on the basis of a legally enforceable duty and not on the basis of words or conduct which are promissory in form or support an inference of a promise a promise implied in law that one will be compensated for services rendered and accepted

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More from Merriam-Webster on promise

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with promise

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for promise

Spanish Central: Translation of promise

Nglish: Translation of promise for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of promise for Arabic Speakers

Comments on promise

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