Definition of premise in English:



  • 1A previous statement or proposition from which another is inferred or follows as a conclusion.

    ‘if the premise is true, then the conclusion must be true’
    • ‘It seems laughable to conclude from these premisses that a and b are identical to some respect.’
    • ‘More formally, the conclusion of a deduction follows necessarily from the premisses.’
    • ‘A valid inference is one where the conclusion follows from the premiss.’
    • ‘Such propositions appear only as premises, never as conclusions.’
    proposition, assumption, hypothesis, thesis, presupposition, postulation, postulate, supposition, presumption, surmise, conjecture, speculation, datum, argument, assertion, belief, thought
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    1. 1.1An assertion or proposition which forms the basis for a work or theory.
      ‘the fundamental premise of the report’
      • ‘Does evidence from Japan challenge basic premises of current psychological theories?’
      • ‘Throughout the book numerous studies are given as premises for the theories Buss poses, along with many case study examples.’
      • ‘The central premise of the theory is that disorder operates on honest people and on the disorderly in different ways.’
      • ‘Darwin based his theory on scientific hypothesis and not metaphysical premises.’
      • ‘Each constitution has been premised on the belief that rights are granted to citizens by the state.’
      • ‘Two objections, however, are thrown up by the premises of neoliberal theory itself.’
      • ‘Even if its fundamental premise is slightly flawed, the film manages to work to a great extent.’
      • ‘The fundamental premise of the report is that violence is both predictable and preventable.’
      • ‘I thought the fundamental premise of this article was unsound.’
      • ‘I would have called it a fine book were it not for disagreeing with its fundamental premise that men were inevitably opposed to women's advances.’
      • ‘The primary premise of this theory is that although errors can occur within highly reliable organizations, they rarely do so.’
      • ‘The basic premise behind this book is that we have these ‘chance’ meetings with people, that are anything but chance.’
      • ‘The fundamental premise of the publication is that early design for space travel was influenced largely by science fiction.’
      • ‘It is the fundamental premise of the theory of evolution.’
      proposition, assumption, hypothesis, thesis, presupposition, postulation, postulate, supposition, presumption, surmise, conjecture, speculation, datum, argument, assertion, belief, thought
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  • 1 Base an argument, theory, or undertaking on.

    ‘the reforms were premised on our findings’
    • ‘The Court noted that Section 16 made it an offence for a licensee knowingly to harbour or suffer to remain on his premises any constable on duty.’
    • ‘Significantly, five of the six concurring justices premised their decision on the right of privacy.’
    • ‘The problem is that the argument is premised on a falsehood.’
    • ‘Having premised his freedom on the absolute rejection of the above ground, Daniel discovers his freedom in solitude to be more terrifying, if possible, than the terror of the fugitive.’
    • ‘However, literary evaluations that fluctuate like fashions are premised on what is the latest: that is, whatever is new is good.’
    • ‘The schemes are premised on procurement of cost-effective drugs in right quantities; selection of reliable suppliers; timely delivery; and achievement of lowest possible total cost.’
    • ‘At the beginning of his Memorial, the writer premises his argument on religious values.’
    • ‘But he cannot invoke this common-sense reason for setting aside history, for his entire theory is premised on the idea that justice is a matter of ‘history’ not ‘end states’.’
    • ‘Spenser, therefore, premised his attack on the jury system on his ethnological view of Irish society.’
    • ‘The argument is premised on the assumption of formal equality of individuals.’
    1. 1.1State or presuppose (something) as a premise.
      [with clause] ‘one school of thought premised that the cosmos is indestructible’
      • ‘In his concluding remarks, he rather defensively explains: ‘This book was always premised to be about my country, not about the Balkans or any other foreign country.’’
      • ‘In several obvious ways, the way John represented his interest premises the idea that fans are consumerists.’
      • ‘Which is to say that on these premises it makes no sense to attribute consciousness to another human being at all.’
      postulate, hypothesize, conjecture, posit, theorize, suppose, presuppose, surmise, assume, predicate, argue, state, assert
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    2. 1.2archaic State by way of introduction.
      [with clause] ‘I will premise generally that I hate lecturing’


Late Middle English: from Old French premisse, from medieval Latin praemissa (propositio) (proposition) set in front from Latin praemittere, from prae before + mittere send.