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  1. a cloudlike aggregation of minute globules of water suspended in the atmosphere at or near the earth's surface, reducing visibility to a lesser degree than fog.
  2. a cloud of particles resembling this: She sprayed a mist of perfume onto her handkerchief.
  3. something that dims, obscures, or blurs: the mist of ignorance.
  4. a haze before the eyes that dims the vision: a mist of tears.
  5. a suspension of a liquid in a gas.
  6. a drink of liquor served over cracked ice.
  7. a fine spray produced by a vaporizer to add moisture to the air for breathing.
verb (used without object)
  1. to become misty.
  2. to rain in very fine drops; drizzle (usually used impersonally with it as subject): It was misting when they went out for lunch.
verb (used with object)
  1. to make misty.
  2. to spray (plants) with a finely diffused jet of water, as a means of replacing lost moisture.

Origin of mist

before 900; (noun) Middle English, Old English; cognate with Dutch, Low German, Swedish mist; akin to Greek omíchlē fog, Russian mgla mist, Sanskrit megha cloud; (v.) Middle English misten, Old English mistian, derivative of the noun
Related formsmist·less, adjectivede·mist, verb (used with object)un·der·mist, noun
Can be confusedmidst missed mist

Synonyms for mist

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3, 4. See cloud.


  1. (in prescriptions) a mixture.

Origin of mist.

From the Latin word mistūra
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for mist

Contemporary Examples of mist

Historical Examples of mist

  • Mist, mist, rolling mist with a square black tower above it.

    The White Company

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • Through the mist of the December afternoon, it had loomed pleasantly before him.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • The light was daylight, but it was inadequate, as though charged with mist.

    The Leopard Woman

    Stewart Edward White

  • A mist came before his eyes, and his heart gave a great cry.

  • I fancied that I saw a mist as of tears, a man's slow tears.

    It Happened in Egypt

    C. N. Williamson

British Dictionary definitions for mist


  1. a thin fog resulting from condensation in the air near the earth's surface
  2. meteorol such an atmospheric condition with a horizontal visibility of 1–2 kilometres
  3. a fine spray of any liquid, such as that produced by an aerosol container
  4. chem a colloidal suspension of a liquid in a gas
  5. condensed water vapour on a surface that blurs the surface
  6. something that causes haziness or lack of clarity, such as a film of tears
  1. to cover or be covered with or as if with mist

Word Origin for mist

Old English; related to Middle Dutch, Swedish mist, Greek omikhlē fog
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 mist

Old English mist "dimness (of eyesight), mist" (earliest in compounds, such as misthleoðu "misty cliffs," wælmist "mist of death"), from Proto-Germanic *mikhstaz (cf. Middle Low German mist, Dutch mist, Icelandic mistur, Norwegian and Swedish mist), perhaps from PIE *meigh- "to urinate" (cf. Greek omikhle, Old Church Slavonic migla, Sanskrit mih, megha "cloud, mist;" see micturition).

Sometimes distinguished from fog, either as being less opaque or as consisting of drops large enough to have a perceptible downward motion. [OED]

Also in Old English in sense of "dimness of the eyes, either by illness or tears," and in figurative sense of "things that obscure mental vision."


Old English mistian "to become misty, to be or grow misty;" see mist (n.). Meaning "To cover with mist" is early 15c. Related: Misted; misting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

mist in Science


  1. A mass of fine droplets of water in the atmosphere near or in contact with the Earth. Mist reduces visibility to not less than 1 km (0.62 mi). Compare fog.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.