Definitions for breach of promise

This page provides all possible meanings and translations of the word breach of promise

Princeton's WordNet

  1. breach of promise(noun)

    failure to keep a promise (of marriage)


  1. breach of promise(Noun)

    A former tort in common law where a man withdraws an earlier promise to marry a woman.


  1. Breach of promise

    Breach of promise or heart balm is a former common law tort. It was also called breach of contract to marry. From at least medieval times until the early 20th century, a man's promise of engagement to marry a woman was considered, in many jurisdictions, a legally binding contract. If the man were to subsequently change his mind, he would be said to be in "breach" of this promise and subject to litigation for damages. The converse of this was seldom true; the concept that "it's a woman's prerogative to change her mind" had at least some basis in law —and unless an actual dowry of money or property had changed hands, a man was only rarely able to recover in a "breach of promise" suit against a woman, were he even allowed to file one. Changing social morals have led to the decline of this sort of action. Most jurisdictions, at least in the English-speaking, common law world, have become increasingly reluctant to intervene in cases of personal relationships not involving the welfare of children or actual violence. Many have repealed all laws regarding such eventualities; whereas in others the statute allowing such an action may technically remain on the books but the action has become very rare and unlikely to be pursued with any probability of success.

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