AskDefine | Define premise

Dictionary Definition

premise n : a statement that is assumed to be true and from which a conclusion can be drawn; "on the assumption that he has been injured we can infer that he will not to play" [syn: premiss, assumption]


1 set forth beforehand, often as an explanation; "He premised these remarks so that his readers might understand"
2 furnish with a preface or introduction; "She always precedes her lectures with a joke"; "He prefaced his lecture with a critical remark about the institution" [syn: precede, preface, introduce]
3 take something as preexisting and given [syn: premiss]

User Contributed Dictionary


Alternative spellings


  • /ˈprɛmɪs/
  • /"prEmIs/


  1. A proposition antecedently supposed or proved; something previously stated or assumed as the basis of further argument; a condition; a supposition.
  2. Either of the first two propositions of a syllogism, from which the conclusion is deduced.
  3. Matters previously stated or set forth; esp., 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. A piece of real estate; a building and its adjuncts (in this sense, used most often in the plural form).
    trespass on another’s premises


proposition antecedently supposed or proved
  • Dutch: voorwaarde
  • Finnish: premissi, peruste
  • Hebrew: הנחה
  • Portuguese: premissa
either of the first two propositions of a syllogism, from which the conclusion is deduced
  • Czech: předpoklad, premisa
  • Dutch: voorwaarde
  • Hebrew: הנחה
  • Portuguese: premissa
Matters previously stated or set forth
  • Hebrew: הנחה
  • Portuguese: premissa
piece of real estate
  • Dutch: perceel


  1. To state or assume something as a proposition to an argument
  2. To make a premise




Extensive Definition

In discourse and logic, a premise is a claim that is a reason (or element of a set of reasons) for, or objection against, some other claim. In other words, it is a statement presumed true within the context of an argument toward a conclusion. Premises are sometimes stated explicitly by way of disambiguation or for emphasis, but more often they are left tacitly understood as being obvious or self-evident ("it goes without saying"), or not conducive to succinct discourse. For example, in the argument
Socrates is mortal, since all men are
it is evident that a tacitly understood claim is that Socrates is a man. The fully expressed reasoning is thus:
Since all men are mortal and Socrates is a man, it follows that Socrates is mortal.
In this example, the first two independent clauses preceding the comma (namely, "all men are mortal" and "Socrates is a man") are the premises, while "Socrates is mortal" is the conclusion.
In the context of ordinary argumentation, the rational acceptability of a disputed conclusion depends on both the truth of the premises and the soundness of the reasoning from the premises to the conclusion.
premise in Macedonian: Премиса
premise in Polish: Przesłanka
premise in German: Prämisse
premise in Finnish: Premissi

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

a priori principle, affirmation, ancestor, antecedent, apriorism, argue, assert, assertion, assume, assumed position, assumption, avant-propos, axiom, basis, basis for belief, body of evidence, breakthrough, categorical proposition, chain of evidence, clue, conjecture, data, datum, documentation, evidence, exhibit, exordium, fact, facts, first principles, forerunner, foreword, foundation, front matter, frontispiece, ground, grounds, grounds for belief, guesswork, hypothecate, hypothesis, hypothesis ad hoc, hypothesize, indication, inference, innovation, introduce, introduction, item of evidence, leap, lemma, major premise, manifestation, mark, material grounds, minor premise, muniments, mute witness, overture, philosopheme, philosophical proposition, piece of evidence, posit, position, postulate, postulation, postulatum, preamble, precedent, precursor, predicate, preface, prefix, prefixture, preliminary, prelude, premises, premiss, presume, presumption, presupposal, presuppose, presupposition, proem, prolegomena, prolegomenon, prolepsis, prologize, prologue, proof, proposal, propose, proposition, propositional function, protasis, put forth, reason to believe, relevant fact, set forth, set of postulates, sign, statement, sumption, supposal, suppose, supposing, supposition, surmise, symptom, theorem, theorize, thesis, token, truth table, truth-function, truth-value, verse, voluntary, working hypothesis
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