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[ri-mis] /rɪˈmɪs/
negligent, careless, or slow in performing one's duty, business, etc.:
He's terribly remiss in his work.
characterized by negligence or carelessness.
lacking force or energy; languid; sluggish.
Origin of remiss
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English < Latin remissus (past participle of remittere to send back, slacken, relax); see remit
Related forms
remissly, adverb
remissness, noun
overremiss, adjective
overremissly, adverb
overremissness, noun
1, 2. derelict, thoughtless, lax, slack, neglectful. 3. dilatory, slothful, slow. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for remissness
Historical Examples
  • Spike now saw this well-planned project to avoid death, and regretted his own remissness in not making sure of Jack.

    Jack Tier or The Florida Reef James Fenimore Cooper
  • Every day it is so, and there is no remissness in the observance of the custom.

  • We may add that frequent punishments are always a sign of weakness or remissness on the part of the government.

    The Social Contract & Discourses Jean-Jacques Rousseau
  • She returned only the more oppressed by the sense of remissness—of remorse.

    Elsie Marley, Honey Joslyn Gray
  • It had been brought to Kaiachououk's notice, and he had lost no time in seeking out the man and taxing him with his remissness.

    Labrador Days Wilfred Thomason Grenfell
  • His excuse for remissness in correspondence was, "I am a young man and in Paris."

    Washington Irving Charles Dudley Warner
  • And then the means which should kindle love, are used with more dulness, and remissness, and indifferency.

  • He could only hope that such advantage had not been taken of his remissness.

    Wyoming Edward Sylvester Ellis
  • He rejoiced in death, when, from no remissness of his, it closed his labours.

    Sir Walter Ralegh William Stebbing
  • I could not bear to think that a minute should be lost by remissness or hesitation.

    Wieland; or The Transformation Charles Brockden Brown
British Dictionary definitions for remissness


adjective (postpositive)
lacking in care or attention to duty; negligent
lacking in energy; dilatory
Derived Forms
remissly, adverb
remissness, noun
Word Origin
C15: from Latin remissus from remittere to release, from re- + mittere to send
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for remissness



early 15c., "weak, dissolved," from Latin remissus "relaxed, languid; negligent," past participle of remittere "slacken, abate, let go" (see remit). Meaning "characterized by lack of strictness" is attested from mid-15c.; that of "characterized by negligence" is from mid-15c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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