1

What is the purpose of adding 束 to 約 if the meaning stays the same and the other meanings of 約 are enough different to not be mixed up with the one in question?

やく【約】の意味

[名]

1 約束。取り決め。「約を交わす」「約を守る」

2 短く簡単にすること。また、そのもの。「長大な文章の約」

3 「約音」に同じ。(source)

2

The noun 約 is virtually not used in modern Japanese. If I understand correctly, it's not used even in official legal documents and such. Maybe an ancient character in a fantasy novel or a samurai drama might use this?

Anyway, 約 is too short, and people usually need a longer word for everyday usage. There are many kanji whose on-yomi is やく (訳, 役, 薬, 厄, ...). Please see the discussion below.

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