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Question 1 of 7
Which sentence is correct?

Idioms about miss

    miss fire. fire (def. 55).

Origin of miss

First recorded before 900; Middle English missen, mis(e), Old English missan; cognate with Old Frisian missa, Middle Low German, Middle Dutch, Old High German missen, Old Norse missa “to fail to hit or reach”


miss·a·ble, adjectiveun·miss·a·ble, adjectiveun·missed, adjective


midst, missed , mist

Other definitions for miss (2 of 4)

[ mis ]
/ mɪs /

noun, plural miss·es.
(initial capital letter) a title of respect for an unmarried woman, conventionally prefixed to her name or to the name of that which she represents: Miss Mary Jones; Miss Sweden.
(used by itself, as a term of address, especially to a young woman): Miss, please bring me some ketchup.
(initial capital letter) a title prefixed to a mock surname used to represent a particular attribute of the person, especially one excessively prominent: Miss Innocent; Miss Congeniality.
a young unmarried woman; girl: a radiant miss of 18 or so.
  1. a range of sizes, chiefly from 6 to 20, for garments that fit women of average height and build.
  2. the department or section of a store where these garments are sold.
  3. a garment in this size range.

Origin of miss

First recorded in 1600–10; short for mistress

usage note for miss

See Ms.

Other definitions for miss (3 of 4)



Other definitions for miss (4 of 4)


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What is a basic definition of miss?

Miss means to fail to hit something, to fail to meet something, or to feel sadness over the absence or loss of something. The word miss has several other senses as a verb and a noun.

To miss something is to fail to hit or strike something, as with an arrow missing a target. If a runaway vehicle misses a stop sign, then it doesn’t smash into it.

  • Real-life examples: If you throw a basketball to your friend and they don’t catch it, the ball misses. When a baseball player misses a baseball with their bat, they try to hit the ball with the bat but fail to. A bowling ball that doesn’t knock down any pins has missed them.
  • Used in a sentence: Luckily, the falling tree branch missed me by a few inches and landed on the ground instead of on my head. 

Miss is used in this same sense as a noun to mean a failure to strike something.

  • Used in a sentence: All of his attempts to throw the basketball into the hoop were misses. 

Miss is also used to mean to fail to meet something or someone.

  • Real-life examples: If you are late meeting up with a friend, they might leave and you’ll miss them. If you take too long to get to the bus stop, the bus will leave without you and you’ll miss it.
  • Used in a sentence: She missed the morning train and had to wait until the next one came. 

Miss is also used to mean to feel sad that something is gone or absent.

  • Real-life examples: Parents often miss their children after they move out of the house. Everybody misses loved ones who have died. A person may miss a favorite food that is no longer being made.
  • Used in a sentence: The freezing man missed the heat of Florida.

Where does miss come from?

The first records of miss come from before 900. It ultimately comes from the Old English word missan and is related to similar words with the same meaning, such as the Old High German missen and the Old Norse missa.

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to miss?

  • missable (adjective)
  • unmissable (adjective)
  • umissed (adjective)

What are some synonyms for miss?

What are some words that share a root or word element with miss

What are some words that often get used in discussing miss?

How is miss used in real life?

Miss is a very common word that most often means to fail to hit something.



Try using miss!

Is miss used correctly in the following sentence?

Sarah swung the bat too late and missed hitting the ball.

How to use miss in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for miss (1 of 4)

/ (mɪs) /

a failure to reach, hit, meet, find, etc
give something a miss informal to avoid (something)give the lecture a miss; give the pudding a miss
See also miss out

Derived forms of miss

missable, adjective

Word Origin for miss

Old English missan (meaning: to fail to hit); related to Old High German missan, Old Norse missa

British Dictionary definitions for miss (2 of 4)

/ (mɪs) /

informal an unmarried woman or girl, esp a schoolgirl

Word Origin for miss

C17: shortened form of mistress

British Dictionary definitions for miss (3 of 4)

/ (mɪs) /

a title of an unmarried woman or girl, usually used before the surname or sometimes alone in direct address

Word Origin for Miss

C17: shortened from mistress

British Dictionary definitions for miss (4 of 4)


abbreviation for
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

Other Idioms and Phrases with miss


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