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prem·ise (prĕmĭs)
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n. also prem·iss (prĕmĭs)
1. A proposition upon which an argument is based or from which a conclusion is drawn.
2. Logic
a. One of the propositions in a deductive argument.
b. Either the major or the minor proposition of a syllogism, from which the conclusion is drawn.
3. premises
a. Land, the buildings on it, or both the land and the buildings on it.
b. A building or particular portion of a building.
c. Law The part of a deed that states the details of the conveyance of the property.
v. prem·ised, prem·is·ing, prem·is·es
1. To provide a basis for; base: "The American Revolution had been premised on a tacit bargain that regional conflicts would be subordinated to the need for unity among the states" (Ron Chernow).
2. To state or assume as a proposition in an argument.
3. To state in advance as an introduction or explanation.

[Middle English premisse, from Old French, from Medieval Latin praemissa (propositiō), (the proposition) put before, premise, from Latin, feminine past participle of praemittere, to set in front : prae-, pre- + mittere, to send.]

Word History: Why do we call a single building the premises? To answer this question, we must go back to the Middle Ages. The English word premises comes from the Latin praemissa, which is both a feminine singular and a neuter plural form of praemissus, the past participle of praemittere, "to send in advance, utter by way of preface, place in front, prefix." In Medieval Latin, the feminine form praemissa was often used with the sense "logical premise" in philosophical discussions, while the neuter plural praemissa was often used with the sense "things mentioned before" in legal documents. Latin praemissa was borrowed into Old French as premisse and thence into Middle English. In Middle English legal documents, the plural premisses came to be used with the sense "the property, collectively, which is specified in the beginning of a legal document and which is conveyed, as by grant." By the first half of the 1700s, this use of the word had given rise to the modern sense of premises, "a building with its grounds or appurtenances."

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

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