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From Middle English, from Old French premisse, from Medieval Latin premissa (set before) (premissa propositio (the proposition set before)), feminine past participle of Latin praemittere (to send or put before), from prae- (before) + mittere (to send).



premise (plural premises)

  1. A proposition antecedently supposed or proved; something previously stated or assumed as the basis of further argument; a condition; a supposition.
  2. (logic) Any of the first propositions of a syllogism, from which the conclusion is deduced.
    • Dr. H. More
      While the premises stand firm, it is impossible to shake the conclusion.
  3. (usually in the plural, law) Matters previously stated or set forth; especially, that part in the beginning of a deed, the office of which is to express the grantor and grantee, and the land or thing granted or conveyed, and all that precedes the habendum; the thing demised or granted.
  4. (usually in the plural) A piece of real estate; a building and its adjuncts. (This meaning arose from meaning #3, by owners of land and/or buildings finding the word in their title deeds and wrongly guessing its meaning.)
    • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 19, in The Mirror and the Lamp:
      Nothing was too small to receive attention, if a supervising eye could suggest improvements likely to conduce to the common welfare. Mr. Gordon Burnage, for instance, personally visited dust-bins and back premises, accompanied by a sort of village bailiff, going his round like a commanding officer doing billets.
    trespass on another’s premises
  5. (authorship) The fundamental concept that drives the plot of a film or other story.

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premise (third-person singular simple present premises, present participle premising, simple past and past participle premised)

  1. To state or assume something as a proposition to an argument.
  2. To make a premise.
  3. To set forth beforehand, or as introductory to the main subject; to offer previously, as something to explain or aid in understanding what follows.
    • Addison
      I premise these particulars that the reader may know that I enter upon it as a very ungrateful task.
    • 1749, Henry Fielding, The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling
      Having premised thus much, we will now detain those who like our bill of fare no longer from their diet, and shall proceed directly to serve up the first course of our history for their entertainment.
  4. To send before the time, or beforehand; hence, to cause to be before something else; to employ previously.
    • Shakespeare
      the premised flames of the last day
    • E. Darwin
      if venesection and a cathartic be premised






  1. third-person singular past historic of premettere