from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. Failure to fulfill a promise, especially a promise to marry.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A former tort in common law where a man withdraws an earlier promise to marry a woman.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. violation of one's plighted word, esp. of a promise to marry.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. failure to keep a promise (of marriage)
Sorry, no etymologies found.
J. Christoph was sued for breach of promise by a girl whom he said he had discussed matrimony with and exchanged rings with, but tired of.
Yet in such circumstances the woman who has been left in the lurch is supposed to suffer, quite apart from the damage to her affection, a sort of moral damage and disgrace from the heartlessness or fickleness of another person – the man to whom she has been engaged; and this moral damage is, I believe, taken into account in actions for breach of promise of marriage (where there is no question of seduction).
"I cannot say that I do unless it were that he wished to be able to deny his signature if an action for breach of promise were instituted."