Is there a simpler or better way of saying "promises that hold no meaning" or "promises without meaning"?
(idiomatic) A promise that is either not going to be carried out, worthless or meaningless.
In my Google searches, in several books "vacuous promise" appears as a synonym for "empty promise". It has a more dramatic tone that may or may not be a good fit with your work. It can convey undertones of thoughtlessness on the part of the person making the promise.
From Google's definition:
- having or showing a lack of thought or intelligence; mindless. "a vacuous smile" synonyms: blank, vacant, expressionless, deadpan, inscrutable, inexpressive, poker-faced, emotionless, impassive, absent, absent-minded, uninterested, empty, glassy, stony, wooden, motionless, lifeless, inanimate More antonyms: expressive, meaningful, thinking, intelligent
- (archaic) empty.
i would say "truism" for a promise which is true, but meaningless. e.g. suppose i say "i promise to give to charity at least as much this year as last year". that would be a meaningless (but true) promise, if i gave nothing to charity last year.
i would say "empty promise" for a promise which the speaker has no intention of trying to keep and/or no expectation of being held accountable. e.g. "i promise to come back before i die". that promise is meaningful, but not necessarily true.