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Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English premise, premisse, 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).

The sense "a piece of real estate" arose from the misinterpretation of the word by property owners while reading title deeds where the word was used with the legal sense.


  • enPR: prĕm'ĭs, IPA(key): /ˈpɹɛm.ɪs/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɛmɪs


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.
    • 1667, attributed to Richard Allestree, The Causes of the Decay of Christian Piety. [], London: [] R. Norton for T. Garthwait, [], OCLC 1114833197:
      While the premises stand firm, 'tis 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.
    • 1899 September 27, The Daily Review (Peterborough, Ont., Canada), volume 37, number 72, page 1a:
      On the premises is a beautiful lawn, well stocked with flowering shrubs; hard and soft water.
    • 1918, W[illiam] B[abington] Maxwell, chapter XIX, in The Mirror and the Lamp, Indianapolis, Ind.: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, OCLC 4293071:
      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.
    • 2021 September 15, Laura Martin, “How talent shows became TV's most bizarre programmes”, in BBC[1]:
      In 1949, the simple premise of discovering ordinary people who have hidden, extraordinary talents came to prominence in the UK with Opportunity Knocks, which started out as a nationwide touring radio show, before moving onto TV in 1956.

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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.
    • 1712 February 13 (Gregorian calendar), Joseph Addison; Richard Steele, “SATURDAY, February 2, 1711–1712”, in The Spectator, number 291; republished in Alexander Chalmers, editor, The Spectator; a New Edition, [], volume III, New York, N.Y.: D[aniel] Appleton & Company, 1853, OCLC 191120697:
      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.






  1. third-person singular past historic of premettere