promise

noun
prom·​ise | \ ˈprä-məs How to pronounce promise (audio) \

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 How to pronounce promisee (audio) \ noun
promisor \ ˌprä-​mə-​ˈsȯr How to pronounce promisor (audio) \ or less commonly promiser \ ˈprä-​mə-​sər How to pronounce promiser (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for promise

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

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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 That was the promise of Doom (2016), the compelling reboot of the pioneering first-person shooter franchise. Julie Muncy, Wired, "The 10 Most Anticipated Games of 2020," 11 Jan. 2020 Indeed, despite the $737 million taxpayer money and an additional $140 million from private investors, Crescent Dunes never reached the initial promises; the best-case scenarios were already outmoded by the 2015 opening. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "The $1 Billion Solar Plant Is an Obsolete, Expensive Flop," 10 Jan. 2020 This tri-band router promises to deliver 574Mbps on its 2.4GHz network, 1,201Mbps on its first 5GHz network, and a staggering 4,804Mbps on its second 5GHz network. Michael Brown, PCWorld, "TP-Link revs its mesh Wi-Fi router lineup to Wi-Fi 6, but leaves Zigbee behind," 10 Jan. 2020 This robotic massager promises blended orgasms impressive enough to win it a CES Innovation Award at last year’s show. Popular Science, "CES 2020: Faceless, furry robots and other quirky gadgets from day one," 7 Jan. 2020 The conservancy is fulfilling a promise that was made to the East Dallas neighborhoods 20 years ago and built into Trinity Forest Spine Trail master plan in 2013, Hiatt Haigh said. Hayat Norimine, Dallas News, "Dallas to take first steps to connect trails from White Rock Lake to South Dallas," 6 Jan. 2020 No promises, though: The Quadrantids can be as elusive as their origins. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian Magazine, "How to Catch the Quadrantids, the First Major Meteor Shower of the 2020s," 30 Dec. 2019 In 2007, the next president of the United States made a characteristically grand promise: America would have universal health care within five years. Libby Watson, The New Republic, "The Hell That Was Health Care Reform," 23 Dec. 2019 Even if the outburst does not happen, the Ursids promise to be a better show than the Geminids last week, which were mostly washed out by the nearly full moon. Andrew Fazekas, National Geographic, "Meteor outburst predicted for this weekend: When and where to see it," 20 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The shared priority project is just a small step toward the kind of coordinated response promised in Mental Health SF. Trisha Thadani, SFChronicle.com, "‘They’ve been getting sicker’: Inside SF’s effort to help the toughest homeless cases," 13 Jan. 2020 Its leader of seven months, Anthony Albanese, promises to do more to tackle climate change. The Economist, "A burning question Why was Australia’s government so ill-prepared for the bushfires?," 11 Jan. 2020 But Bloomberg, 77, is promising to put his campaign to work for whoever wins the party’s 2020 nod, immediately bridging a huge resource gap with Trump the Democratic National Committee is too depleted to handle. David M. Drucker, Washington Examiner, "'Damn right it will have an effect': GOP fears Bloomberg spending could doom Trump in 2020," 10 Jan. 2020 In exchange, the executive typically must promise not to sue or publicly criticize the company. Fortune, "Boeing’s Ex-CEO Was Denied Severance, but Still Walked Away With About $80.7 Million," 10 Jan. 2020 Dell promises premium, feature-rich devices for professionals in its new Latitude 9000 series. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "CES Editors’ Choice Awards: The Most Exciting Tech for 2020," 9 Jan. 2020 The future of Baylor football appeared to be promising through much of its 11-win campaign in 2019. Selby Lopez, Dallas News, "3 reasons why Baylor could be better in 2020, including Charlie Brewer’s likely return," 8 Jan. 2020 This new arms race promises to upend strategic calculations. Richard Stone, Science | AAAS, "‘National pride is at stake.’ Russia, China, United States race to build hypersonic weapons," 8 Jan. 2020 Sanders promises the most stubborn confrontation with this lunatic militarism on offer, and the best possibility that America might become a responsible member of the international community. Ryan Cooper, TheWeek, "Bernie Sanders is America's best hope for a sane foreign policy," 7 Jan. 2020

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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Time Traveler for promise

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for promise

Last Updated

15 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Promise.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/promise. Accessed 17 January 2020.

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More Definitions for promise

promise

noun
How to pronounce promise (audio)

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

promise

noun
prom·​ise | \ ˈprä-məs How to pronounce promise (audio) \

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for promise

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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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