A premise is what forms the basis of a theory or a plot. When you called 911 on the guy in your back yard, it was on the premise that he was a thief and not the meter-reader.

In logic, the premise is the basic statement upon whose truth an argument is based. Criticize alternative theories by demonstrating their false premises. In a more general sense, it's a basic assertion. On the premise that people are generally good, you keep your doors unlocked. Premise is also used more loosely for the starting point for a plot. A movie's premise could be that two people trapped on a desert island will inevitably fall in love.

Definitions of premise

n a statement that is assumed to be true and from which a conclusion can be drawn

assumption, premiss
show 7 types...
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major premise, major premiss
the premise of a syllogism that contains the major term (which is the predicate of the conclusion)
minor premise, minor premiss, subsumption
the premise of a syllogism that contains the minor term (which is the subject of the conclusion)
an unproved statement put forward as a premise in an argument
condition, precondition, stipulation
an assumption on which rests the validity or effect of something else
a postulated sequence of possible events
boundary condition
(mathematics) a condition specified for the solution to a set of differential equations
provision, proviso
a stipulated condition
Type of:
posit, postulate
(logic) a proposition that is accepted as true in order to provide a basis for logical reasoning

v set forth beforehand, often as an explanation

“He premised these remarks so that his readers might understand”
Type of:
exposit, expound, set forth

v furnish with a preface or introduction

introduce, precede, preface
make a preliminary introduction, usually to a formal document
prologise, prologize, prologuize
write or speak a prologue
Type of:
say, state, tell
express in words

v take something as preexisting and given

Type of:
presuppose, suppose
take for granted or as a given; suppose beforehand

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