My dad told me he would buy me a laptop, but when he saw the price in the shop he changed his mind. He said he has never said that. Because he saw that the price is too high and the laptop is too expensive.

Is there a word for this, i.e. for not doing what you agreed to?

  • 4
    Which part exactly do you need a word for?
    – mdewey
    Commented Jan 24, 2021 at 11:37
  • word for "he didnt complete what he said" Commented Jan 24, 2021 at 11:43
  • 3
    I’m voting to close this question because to write a useful answer, we need to know how you want to use it. An example of a sentence with a blank where you would use the word would help.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Jan 25, 2021 at 17:36
  • 1
    See this similar question Is there a word for a promise breaker?. The top answer is "a flake" (slang), which is also a verb. In this context, you could say that "your dad flaked". Commented Jan 26, 2021 at 17:13

8 Answers 8


There are several ways to say that:

  • X went back on his promise/word
  • X reneged on his promise

The one I love is:

  • X back-pedalled (on his promise)
  • 4
    Also, if he was British, he was sick as a parrot after being gobsmacked ;-) After which, he reneged, as you say (upvote)
    – Mawg
    Commented Jan 24, 2021 at 21:00
  • 9
    Definitely "reneged", if you want a single word.
    – RonJohn
    Commented Jan 24, 2021 at 21:23
  • 3
    Note that all of these suggestions are quite generic, and would apply equally to (say) an i5 laptop... :-)
    – SusanW
    Commented Jan 24, 2021 at 21:26
  • 8
    Reneged would be the precise word if he'd actually stated a promise. If it was weaker than a promise, say more of a general intention, then you might say he "got cold feet", in addition to the other fine proposals that have been offered.
    – CCTO
    Commented Jan 24, 2021 at 23:12
  • 1
    It's key that this implies specifically breaking a promise. If OP's dad said "I promise to buy you a laptop" and then they just didn't, then you could say they reneged on their promise. If OP's dad said "I'll buy you that ABC laptop for $1200" and it then goes up in price to $1800, you could say that OP's dad may have reconsidered the proposal, but given that the $1200 laptop is no longer available it would not be fair to say that he reneged - circumstances changed and both parties needed to reconsider the agreement.
    – J...
    Commented Jan 25, 2021 at 18:13

Your father balked at the price.

per Dictionary.com: to stop, as at an obstacle, and refuse to proceed or to do something specified (usually followed by at):

When applied to horses, the word means to stop in the middle of a path and refuse to go on. For humans, it often means to refuse to participate in a transaction once the full details have been made clear.


House Democrats on Monday night balked at President Trump's proposed payroll tax cut designed to help shore up the economy. The Hill

  • 3
    Actually, it can express exactly that when used in this context. THe implication is not just that he said no, but that he was going to, then suddenly stopped. "He said he would buy me a laptop, but he balked when he saw the price."
    – barbecue
    Commented Jan 25, 2021 at 5:16

If you need a single word you could say reconsider (WordHippo)

To alter one's opinion about something

  • The episode had made him reconsider, like a great sickness or a bereavement.

if a phrase is acceptable, you could say that your dad broke his promise. "To break a promise" means

to not do what one said one would definitely do (Merriam-Webster)

There is also break (one's) word

To fail to act as one has promised.

  • Tom said he'd help us move, but he broke his word and failed to show. (Free dictionary)
  • 1
    ‘Reconsider’ is a word so neutral that in the OP’s context it might be considered a little sarcastic. Commented Jan 25, 2021 at 11:02

"Sticker shock" describes the phenomenon of looking into buying something, and being surprised about how much it actually costs.


He said he has never said that.

We might also say, in this case, that he has a "selective memory", as he has conveniently forgotten what his earlier promise was. It would be even more applicable if he said he didn't remember making that promise.

Also, if he didn't actually use the word promise, then we could say something similar about you!

Try negotiating down the i7.

  • If that's what you're after you might as well just use the word "liar" lol.
    – DKNguyen
    Commented Jan 25, 2021 at 4:51

Another possibility, which is a fairly informal US usage, is *he walked back on his promise".


Until today I would have said your father welched on the deal.

The spelling "welshed* is more common (according to Merriam-Webster), but I've always heard it pronounced as if it were spelled "whelched".

Merriam-Webster says it is considered offensive -- presumably to the Welsh. That is something I only just learned.

  • 1
    I’m pretty sure it’s offensive to most people who know it’s a slur. It’s similar to using “gypped” to mean “cheated” and should be avoided. There are words that can convey the same meaning without disparaging a group of people.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Jan 26, 2021 at 22:00
  • 1
    This was first word that I thought of too. I had never realised the etymology Commented Jan 27, 2021 at 12:53

I'm surprised no one has said "bailed" yet.

He bailed on me.

  • Welcome to ELL.SE. Your answer would be greatly strengthened if you edit it to explain how this term is used, perhaps linking a dictionary definition or citing examples in published media. To bail on is rather informal, after all, and not always suitable.
    – choster
    Commented Jan 26, 2021 at 16:13

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