Definition of “promise” - English Dictionary

“promise” in British English

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promiseverb

uk /ˈprɒm.ɪs/ us /ˈprɑː.mɪs/

promise verb (SAY CERTAINLY)

B1 [ I or T ] to tell someone that you will certainly do something:

[ + to infinitive ] He promised faithfully to call me every week.
[ + that ] The government have promised that they'll reduce taxes.
[ + (that) ] Promise me (that) you won't tell him.
I'll look for some while I'm at the shops but I'm not promising anything.
Can I have that book back when you've finished because I've promised it (= I have said I will give it) to Sara.
[ + two objects ] Her parents promised her a new car if she passed her exams.
I've promised myself a long bath when I get through all this work.
[ + speech ] "I'll come round and see you every day," she promised.
"I won't do anything dangerous." "You promise?" "I promise."
"I won't have time to take you shopping this afternoon." "But you promised!"

More examples

  • "But listen, you must promise never to tell anyone." "I promise."
  • You have to stand up in court and promise to tell 'the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth'.
  • I gave him my number and he promised to call me.
  • I promised the babysitter that we'd be home by midnight.
  • She's been promising to pay back the money for six months, but I reckon she's just stringing me along.

promisenoun

uk /ˈprɒm.ɪs/ us /ˈprɑː.mɪs/

promise noun (SAY CERTAINLY)

B1 [ C ] the act of saying that you will certainly do something:

I'll put my things away tonight - and that's a promise!
I'll try to get back in time, but I'm not making any promises.
keep/break a promise

B2 to do/not do what you said that you would do:

If I make a promise, I like to keep it.

More examples

  • She felt encouraged by their promise of support.
  • I made a promise to you and I intend to keep it.
  • Voters are bound to be mistrustful of a government that has broken so many promises.
  • The prime minister may now be regretting her impetuous promise to reduce unemployment by half.
  • The company has not kept faith with its promise to invest in training.

(Definition of “promise” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

“promise” in American English

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promiseverb

us /ˈprɑm·ɪs/

promise verb (STATE CONFIDENTLY)

[ I/T ] to state to someone that you will certainly do something:

[ T ] We promised the kids (that) we’d take them to the zoo.
[ + to infinitive ] She promised to be careful.

promise verb (HAVE LIKELY SUCCESS)

to seem likely:

[ + to infinitive ] The new movie promises to be one of the biggest money-makers of all time.

promisenoun

us /ˈprɑm·ɪs/

promise noun (LIKELY SUCCESS)

[ U ] the likelihood of success or achievement:

She shows great promise as a fiction writer.

promise noun (CONFIDENT STATEMENT)

[ C ] a statement that you will certainly do something:

I’ll try to get back in time, but I’m not making any promises.
He broke his promise to (= said he would but did not) give his art collection to the county museum.

(Definition of “promise” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)