breach of promise

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breach of promise

n. historically the dumping of a female fiancee by her intended husband after he had proposed marriage and she had accepted. She was entitled to file a suit for damages for the embarrassment of the broken engagement. Such lawsuits were gradually outlawed in various states and no longer exist. (See: breach)

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breach of promise

(formerly) failure to carry out one's promise to marry. In Scots law and other civilian jurisdictions, breach of a unilateral promise maybe actionable, absent consideration or estoppel.
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006
References in periodicals archive ?
Dundas White, "Breach of Promise of Marriage," The Law Quarterly Review 10 (1894): 141.
But now one of the Victorian courtrooms is being brought back to life to try a very important case - breach of promise of marriage (who said pre-nups were new?).
Miss Hilda Draper, manageress of a large boot store in Wolverhampton, sued Mr Robert Jones Llewellyn, a bandsman in the 21st Lancers, for damages in a breach of promise of marriage. Miss Draper, 22, was about to be married to a gentleman of some means, but the defendant visited the shop as a customer and persuaded her to give up her lover and transfer her affection to him.
Bardell is that she "let lodgings to many conversable single gentlemen, with great profit, but never brought any more actions for breach of promise of marriage" (897).