• synonyms


[prom-uh-sawr-ee, -sohr-ee]
  1. containing or implying a promise.
  2. of the nature of a promise.
  3. Insurance. of or noting agreements or representations stipulating what is required to take place after the issuance of a policy.
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Origin of promissory

From the Medieval Latin word prōmissōrius, dating back to 1640–50. See promise, -tory1
Related formsprom·is·so·ri·ly, adverbnon·prom·is·so·ry, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for promissory

Historical Examples

  • Their friendship was a promissory note, bound to be honoured to the full.

    The Prisoner

    Alice Brown

  • Instead of a promissory note, they made this a contract and a lease.

    The White Desert

    Courtney Ryley Cooper

  • You have brought Mr. DeVere's promissory note with you; have you not?

  • I picked up Blackstone and turned to his "promissory notes."

  • "I gave him a promissory note for my fare," said the Flamingo.

    Andiron Tales

    John Kendrick Bangs

British Dictionary definitions for promissory


  1. containing, relating to, or having the nature of a promise
  2. insurance stipulating how the provisions of an insurance contract will be fulfilled after it has been signed
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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 promissory


mid-15c., from Medieval Latin promissorius, from Latin promissus, past participle of promittere (see promise (n.)). Promissory note recorded by 1670s.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper