[ prom-is ]
See synonyms for: promisepromisedpromisespromising on

  1. a declaration that something will or will not be done, given, etc., by one: unkept political promises.

  2. an express assurance on which expectation is to be based: promises that an enemy will not win.

  1. something that has the effect of an express assurance; indication of what may be expected.

  2. indication of future excellence or achievement: a writer who shows promise.

  3. something that is promised.

verb (used with object),prom·ised, prom·is·ing.
  1. to engage or undertake by promise (usually used with an infinitive or a clause as object): She promised to go tomorrow.

  2. to make a promise of (some specified act, gift, etc.): to promise help.

  1. to make a promise of something to (a specified person): Promise me that you will come.

  2. to afford ground for expecting: The sky promised a storm.

  3. to engage to join in marriage.

  4. to assure (used in emphatic declarations): I won't go there again, I promise you that!

verb (used without object),prom·ised, prom·is·ing.
  1. to afford ground for expectation (often followed by well or fair): His forthcoming novel promises well.

  2. to make a promise.

Origin of promise

First recorded in 1375–1425; (noun) late Middle English promis(se), from Medieval Latin prōmissa, from Latin prōmissum, noun use of neuter past participle of prōmittere “to promise,” literally, “to send forth,” equivalent to prō- pro-1 + mittere “to send”; (verb) late Middle English promisen, derivative of the noun

Other words for promise

Other words from promise

  • prom·is·a·ble, adjective
  • prom·ise·ful, adjective
  • prom·is·er, noun
  • outpromise, verb (used with object), out·prom·ised, out·prom·is·ing.
  • o·ver·prom·ise, verb (used with object), o·ver·prom·ised, o·ver·prom·is·ing.
  • pre·prom·ise, noun, verb (used with object), pre·prom·ised, pre·prom·is·ing.
  • quasi-promised, adjective
  • re·prom·ise, verb, re·prom·ised, re·prom·is·ing.
  • un·prom·ised, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use promise in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for promise


/ (ˈprɒmɪs) /

  1. (often foll by to; when tr, may take a clause as object or an infinitive) to give an assurance of (something to someone); undertake (to do something) in the future: I promise that I will come

  2. (tr) to undertake to give (something to someone): he promised me a car for my birthday

  1. (when tr, takes an infinitive) to cause one to expect that in the future one is likely (to be or do something): she promises to be a fine soprano

  2. (usually passive) to engage to be married; betroth: I'm promised to Bill

  3. (tr) to assure (someone) of the authenticity or inevitability of something (often in the parenthetic phrase I promise you, used to emphasize a statement): there'll be trouble, I promise you

  1. an undertaking or assurance given by one person to another agreeing or guaranteeing to do or give something, or not to do or give something, in the future

  2. indication of forthcoming excellence or goodness: a writer showing considerable promise

  1. the thing of which an assurance is given

Origin of promise

C14: from Latin prōmissum a promise, from prōmittere to send forth

Derived forms of promise

  • promiser, noun

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Other Idioms and Phrases with promise


see lick and a promise.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.