giving favorable promise; likely to turn out well: a promising young man; a promising situation.

Origin of promising

First recorded in 1505–15; promise + -ing2
Related formsprom·is·ing·ly, adverbprom·is·ing·ness, noun

Synonyms for promising

favorable, reassuring, encouraging.




a declaration that something will or will not be done, given, etc., by one: unkept political promises.
an express assurance on which expectation is to be based: promises that an enemy will not win.
something that has the effect of an express assurance; indication of what may be expected.
indication of future excellence or achievement: a writer who shows promise.
something that is promised.

verb (used with object), prom·ised, prom·is·ing.

to engage or undertake by promise (usually used with an infinitive or a clause as object): She promised to go tomorrow.
to make a promise of (some specified act, gift, etc.): to promise help.
to make a promise of something to (a specified person): Promise me that you will come.
to afford ground for expecting: The sky promised a storm.
to engage to join in marriage.
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.

to afford ground for expectation (often followed by well or fair): His forthcoming novel promises well.
to make a promise.

Origin of promise

1375–1425; (noun) late Middle English promis(se) < Medieval Latin prōmissa, for Latin prōmissum, noun use of neuter past participle of prōmittere to promise, literally, to send forth, equivalent to prō- pro-1 + mittere to send; (v.) late Middle English promisen, derivative of the noun
Related formsprom·is·a·ble, adjectiveprom·ise·ful, adjectiveprom·is·er, nounout·prom·ise, 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.qua·si-prom·ised, adjectivere·prom·ise, verb, re·prom·ised, re·prom·is·ing.un·prom·ised, adjective

Synonyms for promise Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for promising

Contemporary Examples of promising

Historical Examples of promising

British Dictionary definitions for promising



showing promise of favourable development or future success
Derived Formspromisingly, adverb



(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 futureI promise that I will come
(tr) to undertake to give (something to someone)he promised me a car for my birthday
(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
(usually passive) to engage to be married; betrothI'm promised to Bill
(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


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
indication of forthcoming excellence or goodnessa writer showing considerable promise
the thing of which an assurance is given
Derived Formspromiser, noun

Word Origin for promise

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

Word Origin and History for promising

"showing signs of future excellence," c.1600, present participle adjective from promise (v.). Related: Promisingly.



c.1400, "a pledge, vow," from Old French promesse "promise, guarantee, assurance" (13c.) and directly from Latin promissum "a promise," noun use of neuter past participle of promittere "send forth; let go; foretell; assure beforehand, promise," from pro- "before" (see pro-) + mittere "to put, send" (see mission). The ground sense is "declaration made about the future, about some act to be done or not done."



c.1400, from promise (n.). Related: Promised; promising. Promised land (1530s) is a reference to the land of Canaan promised to Abraham and his progeny (Hebrew xi:9, etc.; Greek ten ges tes epangelias).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with promising


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.