• Moses Views the Promised Land
    Moses Views the Promised Land
  • WordNet 3.6
    • v promise make a promise or commitment
    • v promise promise to undertake or give "I promise you my best effort"
    • v promise make a prediction about; tell in advance "Call the outcome of an election"
    • v promise give grounds for expectations "The new results were promising","The results promised fame and glory"
    • n promise grounds for feeling hopeful about the future "there is little or no promise that he will recover"
    • n promise a verbal commitment by one person to another agreeing to do (or not to do) something in the future
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Additional illustrations & photos:


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: Franklin Pierce is the only President to have said "I promise" instead of "I swear at his Inauguration. He did it for religious reasons.
    • Promise (Law) 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.
    • Promise Bestowal, fulfillment, or grant of what is promised. "He . . . commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father."
    • Promise 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. "For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise : but God gave it to Abraham by promise ."
    • Promise That which causes hope, expectation, or assurance; especially, that which affords expectation of future distinction; as, a youth of great promise . "My native country was full of youthful promise ."
    • Promise To afford hopes or expectation; to give ground to expect good; rarely, to give reason to expect evil. "Will not the ladies be afeard of the lion?
      I fear it, I promise you."
    • Promise To afford reason to expect; to cause hope or assurance of; as, the clouds promise rain.
    • Promise 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. "To promise aid."
    • Promise To give assurance by a promise, or binding declaration.
    • Promise 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. "I dare promise myself you will attest the truth of all I have advanced."
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
  • Interesting fact: In July 1981, a tortoise was sentenced to death for murder. Tribal elders in Kyuasini, a village in Kenya, formally condemned the tortoise because they suspected it of causing the death of six people, apparently through magic. However, because none of the villagers was prepared to risk the tortoise's wrath by carrying out the execution, it was instead chained to a tree. The tortoise was later freed after the government promised an official inquiry into the deaths.
    • n promise A declaration in reference to the future, whether written or verbal, made by one person to another, purporting to assure the latter that the former will do or forbear from a specified act, or cause it to be done or refrained from; a declaration intended to give to the person to whom it is made assurance of his right to expect from the promisor the thing promised; especially, a declaration that something shall be done or given for the benefit of the promisee or another. In law, a promise is not binding in such sense as to be directly enforceable through the courts, unless made upon a consideration good or valuable; in which case the promise and the consideration together form a contract or agreement (if under seal, termed a covenant) which binds the promisor, and it may be bis legal representatives, and gives the promisee, and in some cases a third person for whose benefit the promise was made, the right to enforce it by suit, or to recover damages for its breach.
    • n promise Ground or basis of expectation; earnest: pledge.
    • n promise That which affords a ground or basis for hope or for expectation of future excellence or distinction: as, a youth of great promise.
    • n promise That which is promised; fulfilment or grant of what is promised.
    • n promise A promise made without seal, either orally or in writing, as distinguished from one made under seal, which is technically called a covenant.
    • n promise Synonyms Assurance, Promise, Engagement, Pledge, Covenant. These words are arranged in the order of strength; it would be dishonorable to fail to keep what even the weakest of them expresses. The formality and solemnity of each are proportioned to its strength. A covenant is a mutual obligation; the others are not. Each of them may be either spoken or written, but the written is generally more formal, and may have greater legal obligation.
    • promise To make a promise of; engage to do, give, grant, or procure for some one; especially, to engage that some benefit shall be conferred.
    • promise To afford reason to expect: as, the year promises a good harvest; the clouds promise rain.
    • promise To assure.
    • promise To make as promisor; be the promisor in.
    • promise Synonyms To assure, engage, covenant. See the noun.
    • promise To assure one by a promise! or binding declaration.
    • promise To afford hopes or expectations; give ground for expecting satisfactory or agreeable results.
    • promise To stand sponsor.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: Mary Todd once dated both Abe Lincoln and Stephen Douglas. She chose Lincoln because he showed more promise, and she was right - he was good at everything but ducking.
    • n Promise prom′is 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:
    • v.t Promise to make an engagement to do or not to do something: to afford reason to expect: to assure: to engage to bestow
    • v.i Promise to assure one by a promise: to afford hopes or expectations:
    • n Promise prom′is (rare) fulfilment of what is promised
    • v.i Promise (rare) to stand sponsor
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  • Archibald Macleish
    “America is promises to take! America is promises to us to take them.”
  • Henri B. Stendhal
    “Beauty is the promise of happiness.”
  • Simone Weil
    “Beauty always promises, but never gives anything.”
  • Dutch Proverb
    Dutch Proverb
    “Promises make debt, and debt makes promises.”
  • William Carey
    William Carey
    “The future is as bright as the promises of God.”
  • Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
    “Girls we love for what they are; men for what they promise to be.”


A lick and a promise - If you give something a lick and a promise, you do it hurriedly, most often incompletely, intending to return to it later.


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
F. promesse, L. promissum, fr. promittere, promissum, to put forth, foretell, promise; pro, forward, for + mittere, to send. See Mission.


In literature:

But M'sieu Ralph had said so, and what he promised came to pass.
"A Little Girl in Old Quebec" by Amanda Millie Douglas
But Betty promised to go over lessons with her when they came back.
"A Little Girl in Old Boston" by Amanda Millie Douglas
A promise is a promise; and a promise made to a dying man!
"Miss Mackenzie" by Anthony Trollope
She did not promise to drink any of the promised tea.
"Deerbrook" by Harriet Martineau
She has promised, and is willing to sacrifice herself to her promise.
"An Old Man's Love" by Anthony Trollope
The thing before him was a vision; it joined high heaven with the earth below; it was a promise.
"The Goose Man" by Jacob Wassermann
He would now let me up if I would promise to make friends, and not fight him.
"Autobiography of Frank G. Allen, Minister of the Gospel" by Frank G. Allen
I have been very foolish, but never say anything about it; never, never, not to any one; promise me, promise me, Caroline.
"The Bertrams" by Anthony Trollope
I have his promise to marry me, but you have his heart.
"A Coin of Edward VII" by Fergus Hume
She promised with all her heart to do her utmost to fulfil his wishes.
"Hopes and Fears scenes from the life of a spinster" by Charlotte M. Yonge

In poetry:

There shall be showers of blessing:
This is the promise of love;
There shall be seasons refreshing,
Sent from the Savior above.
"There Shall Be Showers of Blessing" by Daniel Webster Moody
Could I joy his saints to meet,
Choose the ways I once abhorred,
Find, at times, the promise sweet,
If I did not love the Lord?
"Lovest Thou Me?" by John Newton
Within the hearts of all men lie
These promises of wider bliss,
Which blossom into hopes that cannot die,
In sunny hours like this.
"An Incident In A Railroad Car" by James Russell Lowell
He will come; he will come;
He will come, for he promised.
My White Eagle, he will come;
He will come, for he promised----
My White Eagle.
"Winona - Famine" by Hanford Lennox Gordon
Faith does alone the promise eye;
Sense won't believe unless it see;
Nor can it trust the divine guide,
Unless it have both wind and tide.
"The Believer's Principles : Chap. IV." by Ralph Erskine
O come, this wondrous man behold!
The promised Saviour! this is he,
Whom ancient prophecies foretold,
Born, from our guilt to set us free.
"The Woman Of Samaria" by John Newton

In news:

DALLAS- In recent days we've seen the US House of Representatives follow through on some members' campaign promises by passing a symbolic bill that would repeal the landmark Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010.
Don't be fooled by more baseless promises.
But the day was salvaged when former Yankee batboy Ray Negron stopped at the school instead and promised that the Bronx Bombers would swing by after the World Series.
A Promise Unfulfilled at an Art Deco Bathhouse in the Rockaways.
Socialist presidential candidate Francois Hollande promises to tax the rich and bring down debt.
Dixie promises a bawdy good time at her 'Party' at CLO Cabaret.
Mario Draghi's vow to do 'whatever it takes' to save the euro isn't an empty promise.
Promise this will only hurt for 5 years.
Now that Mardi Gras is over and Lenten promises are made, it's time for a delicious meat-free entree recipe.
Beaux Barfield promises transparency on rules.
New York Screening of 'Eastern Promises'.
At the month-old Uncle, a noodle bar in LoHi, I ordered the promising-sounding roasted cauliflower with curry, golden raisins, coconut, and crispy shallots.
You may even be aware of a new show I've helped create on the subject, a show that promises to have something for everybody.
We are not promised tomorrow, so lets make every day count.
Adam Lambert Promises 'Less Campy , More Primal' New Album.

In science:

Random routing is a promising method, particularly if the network has small-world properties.
Random spread on the family of small-world networks
Here as promised we will use the instanton method13 to study the tail of the spectrum.
Hopping between Random Locations: Spectrum and Instanton
No self-consistent calculations of such a ‘sandwich-like’ accelerator exist at present, but the results obtained by with an approximate treatment of the problem look promising indeed.
Neutron Stars as Sources of High Energy Particles - the case of RPP
We ended our journey with a discussion on the recently proposed Jarzynski’s equality and the promise this technique holds for computation of equilibrium free energies from nonequilibrium simulation/experiment.
An Introduction to Monte Carlo Simulation of Statistical physics Problem
Therefore, the generation of the 4d standard model from the multiple copy of the 3d ones is quite promising.
4d Gauge Theory and Gravity Generated from 3d Ones at High Energy