What does promise mean?

Definitions for promise
ˈprɒm ɪsprom·ise

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word promise.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. promisenoun

    a verbal commitment by one person to another agreeing to do (or not to do) something in the future

  2. promise, hopeverb

    grounds for feeling hopeful about the future

    "there is little or no promise that he will recover"

  3. promise, assureverb

    make a promise or commitment

  4. promiseverb

    promise to undertake or give

    "I promise you my best effort"

  5. predict, foretell, prognosticate, call, forebode, anticipate, promiseverb

    make a prediction about; tell in advance

    "Call the outcome of an election"

  6. promiseverb

    give grounds for expectations

    "The new results were promising"; "The results promised fame and glory"


  1. promisenoun

    An oath or affirmation; a vow.

  2. promisenoun

    A transaction between two persons whereby the first person undertakes in the future to render some service or gift to the second person or devotes something valuable now and here to his use.

  3. promiseverb

    to commit to something or action; to make an oath; make a vow.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. PROMISEnoun

    Etymology: promissum, Lat. promise, promesse, Fr.

    I eat the air, promise cramm’d; you cannot feed capons so. Sha.

    His promises were, as he then was, mighty;
    But his performance, as he now is, nothing. William Shakespeare.

    O Lord, let thy promise unto David be established. 1 Chron.

    Behold, she said, perform’d in ev’ry part
    My promise made; and Vulcan’s labour’d art. Dryden.

    Let any man consider, how many sorrows he would have escaped, had God called him to his rest, and then say, whether the promise to deliver the just from the evils to come, ought not to be made our daily prayer. William Wake.

    Now are they ready, looking for a promise from thee. Acts.

    Your young prince Mamillius is a gentleman of the greatest promise. William Shakespeare, Winter’s Tale.

  2. To Promiseverb

    Etymology: promettre, Fr. promitto, Lat.

    While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption. 2 Peter ii. 18.

    I could not expect such an effect as I found, which seldom reaches to the degree that is promised by the prescribers of any remedies. William Temple, Miscel.

  3. To Promiseverb

    Promising is the very air o’ th’ time; it opens the eyes of expectation: performance is ever the duller for his act. William Shakespeare.

    I dare promise for this play, that in the roughness of the numbers, which was so designed, you will see somewhat more masterly than any of my former tragedies. Dryden.

    As he promised in the law, he will shortly have mercy, and gather us together. 2 Mac. ii. 18.

    All the pleasure we can take, when we met these promising sparks, is in the disappointment. Henry Felton.

    She brib’d my stay, with more than human charms;
    Nay promis’d, vainly promis’d to bestow
    Immortal life. Alexander Pope, Odyssey.

    Will not the ladies be afraid of the lion?
    —— I fear it, I promise you. William Shakespeare.


  1. Promise

    A promise is a commitment by someone to do or not do something. As a noun promise means a declaration assuring that one will or will not do something. As a verb it means to commit oneself by a promise to do or give. It can also mean a capacity for good, similar to a value that is to be realized in the near future.In the law of contract, an exchange of promises is usually held to be legally enforceable, according to the Latin maxim pacta sunt servanda.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Promiseadjective

    in general, a declaration, written or verbal, made by one person to another, which binds the person who makes it to do, or to forbear to do, a specified act; a declaration which gives to the person to whom it is made a right to expect or to claim the performance or forbearance of a specified act

  2. Promiseadjective

    an engagement by one person to another, either in words or in writing, but properly not under seal, for the performance or nonperformance of some particular thing. The word promise is used to denote the mere engagement of a person, without regard to the consideration for it, or the corresponding duty of the party to whom it is made

  3. Promiseadjective

    that which causes hope, expectation, or assurance; especially, that which affords expectation of future distinction; as, a youth of great promise

  4. Promiseadjective

    bestowal, fulfillment, or grant of what is promised

  5. Promiseverb

    to engage to do, give, make, or to refrain from doing, giving, or making, or the like; to covenant; to engage; as, to promise a visit; to promise a cessation of hostilities; to promise the payment of money

  6. Promiseverb

    to afford reason to expect; to cause hope or assurance of; as, the clouds promise rain

  7. Promiseverb

    to make declaration of or give assurance of, as some benefit to be conferred; to pledge or engage to bestow; as, the proprietors promised large tracts of land; the city promised a reward

  8. Promiseverb

    to give assurance by a promise, or binding declaration

  9. Promiseverb

    to afford hopes or expectation; to give ground to expect good; rarely, to give reason to expect evil

  10. Etymology: [F. promesse, L. promissum, fr. promittere, promissum, to put forth, foretell, promise; pro forward, for + mittere to send. See Mission. ]


  1. Promise

    A promise is a commitment by someone to do or not do something. As a noun promise means a declaration assuring that one will or will not do something. As a verb it means to commit oneself by a promise to do or give. It can also mean a capacity for good, similar to a value that is to be realized in the near future. In the law of contract, an exchange of promises is usually held to be legally enforceable, according to the Latin maxim pacta sunt servanda.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Promise

    prom′is, n. an engagement made by a person either verbally or in writing to do or keep from doing something: expectation or that which causes expectation: a ground for hope of future excellence: (rare) fulfilment of what is promised.—v.t. to make an engagement to do or not to do something: to afford reason to expect: to assure: to engage to bestow.—v.i. to assure one by a promise: to afford hopes or expectations: (rare) to stand sponsor.—ns. Prom′ise-breach (Shak.), violation of promise; Prom′ise-break′er (Shak.), a violator of promises.—adj. Prom′ise-crammed (Shak.), crammed or filled with promises.—ns. Promisēē′, the person to whom a promise is made; Prom′iser, Prom′isor.—adj. Prom′ising, affording ground for hope or expectation: likely to turn out well.—advs. Prom′isingly; Prom′issorily.—adj. Prom′issory, containing a promise of some engagement to be fulfilled.—n. Prom′issory-note, a note by one person promising to pay a sum of money to another, or to bearer, at a certain date, or at sight, or on demand.—Promised land, the land promised by God to Abraham and his seed: Canaan: heaven.—Be promised (rare), to have an engagement; Breach of promise (see Breach); Conditional promise, a promise of which the obligation depends on certain conditions—opp. to Absolute promise; Express promise, a promise expressed orally or in writing; The Promise, the assurance of God to Abraham that his descendants should become the chosen people. [Fr. promesse—L. promissa, promittĕre, to send forward—pro, forward, mittĕre, to send.]

Editors Contribution

  1. promise

    Agree to do or complete an act.

    They made a promise to marry on a specific date this year which is easily achieved.

    Submitted by MaryC on January 10, 2020  

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'promise' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #3847

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'promise' in Written Corpus Frequency: #4171

  3. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'promise' in Nouns Frequency: #1255

  4. Verbs Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'promise' in Verbs Frequency: #321

Anagrams for promise »

  1. imposer

  2. semipro

How to pronounce promise?

How to say promise in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of promise in Chaldean Numerology is: 3

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of promise in Pythagorean Numerology is: 5

Examples of promise in a Sentence

  1. Bernie Sanders:

    I can make that promise, i do not want to see them deported. I want to see them on a path to citizenship. That is exactly what I will do.

  2. Lori Lightfoot:

    In too many neighborhoods, gangs are targeting young boys – young boys with promise, young boys with a whole history and opportunity in front of them, but they’re targeting them with false promises of wealth, an easy life, and a sense of purpose and belonging.

  3. Thomas Mulcair:

    This is the crew that was thrown out of office the last time for that very reason, and now they're saying 'promise, cross our hearts, we won't do it again.' But what we've learned is they're already planning to do it again.

  4. Elijah Cummings:

    Running investigations in a private, fact-centric way is unquestionably the right way to conduct a serious investigation. The pitfall, of course, is that commentators, and sometimes even Members of your own Conference, offer thoughts on matters on which they are not familiar, my team of investigators, drawn from the military, federal agencies and the congressional oversight and ethics committees, has worked hard, and in an above-board manner. It is unfortunate when claims are made by those who do not know what the committee has done, why it has done it, or the results of its work. We made a promise to the families about the integrity of this investigation, and no one on the majority side has forgotten it.

  5. Dominique Luzuriaga:

    But I promise, we promise, that your death won't be in vain.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for promise

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"promise." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 8 Feb. 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/promise>.

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    relating to or involving money
    • A. valetudinarian
    • B. numinous
    • C. pecuniary
    • D. splay

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