out of the right or proper course, order, or condition; improperly; wrongly; astray: Did I speak amiss?

adjective (usually used predicatively)

improper; wrong; faulty: I think something is amiss in your calculations.


    take amiss, to be offended at or resentful of (something not meant to cause offense or resentment); misunderstand: I couldn't think of a way to present my view so that no one would take it amiss.

Origin of amiss

1200–50; Middle English amis, equivalent to a- a-1 + mis wrong. See miss1

Synonyms for amiss

Antonyms for amiss Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for amiss

Contemporary Examples of amiss

Historical Examples of amiss

  • "I had not thought that you had taken it so amiss," said he awkwardly.

    The White Company

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • Mrs. Menotti tried to detain him; she could not understand what was amiss.

    Rico and Wiseli

    Johanna Spyri

  • It may not be amiss to remark that I have never eaten a blackberry since.

    A Woman Tenderfoot

    Grace Gallatin Seton-Thompson

  • I thought it was not amiss to ask this liberty; the weather seemed to be set in fine.

    Clarissa, Volume 2 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • "If they were walking over you, it mightn't be amiss," reprimanded Judith.

    The Channings

    Mrs. Henry Wood

British Dictionary definitions for amiss



in an incorrect, inappropriate, or defective manner
take something amiss to be annoyed or offended by something


(postpositive) wrong, incorrect, or faulty

Word Origin for amiss

C13 a mis, from mis wrong; see miss 1
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

Word Origin and History for amiss

mid-13c., amis "off the mark," also "out of order," literally "on the miss," from a "in, on" (see a- (1)) + missen "fail to hit" (see miss (v.)). To take (something) amiss originally (late 14c.) was "to miss the meaning of" (see mistake). Now it means "to misinterpret in a bad sense."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with amiss


see under take the wrong way.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.