promise(redirected from promises)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal.
A promise that is devoid of worth or meaning, one that cannot or was never intended to be carried out. John may be a sweet-talker, but in reality, he's a lowlife full of empty promises.
a promise is a promise
A phrase emphasizing that a promise should be kept. I know you feel differently now, but you said you would help me, and a promise is a promise!
a promise made is a promise kept
When one makes a promise, it should be done with the intention of following through. I said I would help you, and I will—because, as far as I'm concerned, a promise made is a promise kept.
breach of promise
A violation of a promise one has made. You told me you would study for this test, and then you got an F. That sounds like a breach of promise to me!
go back on one's wordand go back on one's promise; go back on one's pledge
to break a promise that one has made. I hate to go back on my word, but I won't pay you $100 afterall. Going back on your promise makes you a liar.
I promise you!
Inf. I am telling you the truth! (Compare this with Trust me!) John: Things will work out, I promise you! Jane: Okay, but when? Sue: I'll be there exactly when I said. Bob: Are you sure? Sue: I promise you, I am telling the truth!
keep a promiseand keep one's promise
to make good on a promise; to fulfill one's promise. If you can't keep your promises, you shouldn't make them in the first place.
*lick and a promise
Fig. a hasty bit of work; a quick once-over. (*Typically: finish something with ~; give something ~.) I was pressed for time, so I just gave the housework a lick and a promise. Mary spent so much time on her history paper that she had to finish her math homework with a lick and a promise.
*lot of promise
much promise for the future. (*Typically: have ~; show ~.) Sally is quite young, but she has a lot of promise. This bush is small, but it shows a lot of promise.
promise something to someone
to pledge something to someone. I promised this vase to my niece. Is this book promised to anyone?
promise the moon (to someone)and promise someone the moon
to make extravagant promises to someone. Bill will promise you the moon, but he won't live up to his promises. My boss promised the moon, but never gave me a raise.
Promises are like piecrust, made to be broken.
Prov. It is useless to make promises, because people always break their promises. Lisa made Andrew promise not to drink anymore, but promises are like piecrust, made to be broken.
to be likely to succeed The new drug holds promise for helping to control addiction.
you will probably not do what you say you will do â€œWhen I get my check I'll buy you a new coat.â€ â€œPromises, promises!â€
give something a lick and a promise
1. (British & Australian old-fashioned) to clean something quickly and not carefully I put on my new suit, gave my shoes a lick and a promise, and left the house.
2. (American & Australian old-fashioned) to do a job or piece of work quickly and not carefully We didn't have time to do much clearing up in the yard - just gave the grass a lick and a promise.
promise (somebody) the moon(British, American & Australian) also promise (somebody) the earth (British & Australian)
to promise something impossible He had promised her the earth but five years later they were still living in the same small house.
the promised land
a place that offers a lot of good opportunities
Usage notes: This phrase comes from the Bible.America was the promised land for many immigrant families.
something that you say when someone says they will do something and you do not believe them 'Honestly, I will call you back this time.' 'Promises, promises!'
lick and a promise, a
A superficial effort made without care or enthusiasm. For example, I haven't time to do a good job of vacuuming, just enough for a lick and a promise. This expression is believed to allude to the quick lick a cat or other animal might give itself and a promise to do more or better at some future time. [Mid-1800s]
a lick and a promise
n. a very casual treatment. A lick and a promise isn’t enough. Take some time and do it right.
lick and a promise
A superficial effort made without care or enthusiasm.
lick and a promise
A superficial effort. Rather than wash themselves thoroughly to their parents' satisfaction, youngsters who were in a rush would splash on a little water and say they'd do a better job later. The phrase was extended to apply to any fast and incomplete job.