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breach of promise ‎(uncountable)

  1. Used other than as an idiom: see breach,‎ promise.
    • 1839, Hugh Davey Evans, Maryland Common Law Practice, page 142,
      In all such cases, the wrongful act, is the refusal to pay the money, according to promise; and this breach of promise, is laid in what is called the common breach or conclusion, at the end of the whole declaration.
  2. (law) A tort in common law arising when a man withdraws an earlier promise to marry a woman; abolished in many jurisdictions.
    • 1828, Scotland Court of Session, Session Cases: Cases Decided in the Court of Session, Volume 6, page 416,
      But suppose an agreement to marry made by a man in Scotland with a minor lady in England, would we decern for damages for breach of promise in such a case?
    • 1998, John Langer, Tabloid Television: Popular Journalism and the ‘Other News’, page 97,
      A ‘breach of promise’ case being 'played out in the courts' was covered over three consecutive days and given substantial prominence especially on the commercial channels' bulletins (this was the last ‘breach of promise case’ in the state of Victoria, which may account for the sustained coverage).
    • 2013, Mark E. Kann, Taming Passion for the Public Good: Policing Sex in the Early Republic, page 118,
      Nevertheless, pointing a finger at young men and punishing them with breach-of-promise lawsuits did little to address the problem of fallen women.

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