Definition of promise verb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

      

    promise

     verb
    verb
    BrE BrE//ˈprɒmɪs//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈprɑːmɪs//
     
    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they promise
    BrE BrE//ˈprɒmɪs//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈprɑːmɪs//
     
    he / she / it promises
    BrE BrE//ˈprɒmɪsɪz//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈprɑːmɪsɪz//
     
    past simple promised
    BrE BrE//ˈprɒmɪst//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈprɑːmɪst//
     
    past participle promised
    BrE BrE//ˈprɒmɪst//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈprɑːmɪst//
     
    -ing form promising
    BrE BrE//ˈprɒmɪsɪŋ//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈprɑːmɪsɪŋ//
     
     
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  1. 1  [intransitive, transitive] to tell somebody that you will definitely do or not do something, or that something will definitely happen promise (to do something) The college principal promised to look into the matter. ‘Promise not to tell anyone!’ ‘I promise.’ They arrived at 7.30 as they had promised. promise something The government has promised a full investigation into the disaster. I'll see what I can do but I can't promise anything. promise (that)… The brochure promised (that) the local food would be superb. promise somebody (that)… You promised me (that) you’d be home early tonight. promise something to somebody He promised the money to his grandchildren. promise somebody something He promised his grandchildren the money. promise yourself something I've promised myself some fun when the exams are over. promise (somebody) + speech ‘I'll be back soon,’ she promised. More Like This Verbs with two objects bet, bring, build, buy, cost, get, give, leave, lend, make, offer, owe, pass, pay, play, post, promise, read, refuse, sell, send, show, sing, take, teach, tell, throw, wish, writeSee worksheet.
  2. 2[transitive] to make something seem likely to happen; to show signs of something it promises to be something It promises to be an exciting few days. promise something There were dark clouds overhead promising rain. More Like This Verbs usually followed by infinitives afford, agree, appear, arrange, attempt, beg, choose, consent, decide, expect, fail, happen, hesitate, hope, intend, learn, manage, mean, neglect, offer, prepare, pretend, promise, refuse, swear, try, want, wishSee worksheet.
  3. Word Origin late Middle English: from Latin promissum ‘something promised’, neuter past participle of promittere ‘put forth, promise’, from pro- ‘forward’ + mittere ‘send’.Extra examples He repeatedly promised to cut taxes in his campaign. I am sending you information on holidays as promised. I can definitely promise you that I’ll do all I can to help. I can’t promise I’ll be there. I can’t promise anything, but I hope to have it finished next week. I’ve promised my old computer to Jane. She promised faithfully that she would come. The plan seemed to promise a new beginning. ‘I’ll be back soon,’ she promised. I’ll see what I can do but I can’t promise anything. It was a disappointing end to a season which had promised so much for the team. The new drug promises to bring relief to thousands of asthma sufferers. You promised me (that) you’d be home early tonight.Idioms (informal) used as a way of encouraging or warning somebody about something I can promise you, you'll have a wonderful time. If you don't take my advice, you'll regret it, I promise you.
    promise (somebody) the earth/moon/world
     
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    (informal) to make promises that will be impossible to keep Politicians promise the earth before an election, but things are different afterwards.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: promise