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
  1. noun
    a statement that is assumed to be true and from which a conclusion can be drawn
    synonyms: assumption, premiss
    see moresee less
    show 8 types...
    hide 8 types...
    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
    (rhetoric) an assumption or underlying belief that connects evidence to a claim
    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
  2. verb
    set forth beforehand, often as an explanation
    “He premised these remarks so that his readers might understand”
  3. verb
    furnish with a preface or introduction
    synonyms: introduce, precede, preface
    see moresee less
    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
  4. verb
    take something as preexisting and given
    synonyms: premiss
    see moresee less
    type of:
    presuppose, suppose
    take for granted or as a given; suppose beforehand
Word Family

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week