miss by a mile


Fall short, fail by a considerable amount, as in Your guess as to the winner missed by a mile. This expression employs miss in the sense of “fail to hit something aimed at,” a usage dating from the late 1400s, and by a mile for a great distance or interval, so used since Shakespeare's day.

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“Compliment” and “complement” had a shared meaning a long time ago, but today they are no longer interchangeable.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.