promise n: a declaration or manifestation esp. in a contract of an intention to act or refrain from acting in a specified way that gives the party to whom it is made a right to expect its fulfillment
: a promise (as to compensate an insured individual for future loss) whose fulfillment is dependent on a fortuitous or uncertain event
: a promise usually to pay the debt of another that is ancillary to an original promise, is not made for the benefit of the party making it, and must be in writing to be enforceable
: a promise that is made with no intention of carrying it out and esp. with intent to deceive or defraud
: a promise that is made without consideration and is usually unenforceable called also naked promise compare nudum pactum NOTE: A gratuitous promise may be enforceable under promissory estoppel.
: a purported promise that does not actually bind the party making it to a particular performance [an illusory promise depending solely on the will of the supposed promisor]
: a promise that is considered to exist despite the lack of an agreement or express terms to that effect and the breach of which may be recognized as a cause of action [claimed a breach of an implied promise that he would not be terminated at will] see also promise implied in fact and promise implied in law in this entry
: gratuitous promise in this entry
: a promise (as in a suretyship) usually to pay the debt of another that is made primarily for the benefit of the party making it and need not be in writing to be enforceable compare collateral promise in this entry main purpose rule
promise implied in fact
: an implied promise that exists by inference from specific facts, circumstances, or acts of the parties
promise implied in law
: an implied promise that exists on the basis of a legally enforceable duty and not on the basis of words or conduct which are promissory in form or support an inference of a promise [a promise implied in law that one will be compensated for services rendered and accepted]
Source: Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law ©1996. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Published under license with Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.