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[mis] /mɪs/
verb (used with object)
to fail to hit or strike:
to miss a target.
to fail to encounter, meet, catch, etc.:
to miss a train.
to fail to take advantage of:
to miss a chance.
to fail to be present at or for:
to miss a day of school.
to notice the absence or loss of:
When did you first miss your wallet?
to regret the absence or loss of:
I miss you all dreadfully.
to escape or avoid:
He just missed being caught.
to fail to perceive or understand:
to miss the point of a remark.
verb (used without object)
to fail to hit something.
to fail of effect or success; be unsuccessful.
a failure to hit something.
a failure of any kind.
an omission.
a misfire.
Verb phrases
miss out, Chiefly British. to omit; leave out.
miss out on, to fail to take advantage of, experience, etc.:
You missed out on a great opportunity.
miss fire. fire (def 52).
Origin of miss1
before 900; Middle English missen, 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
Related forms
missable, adjective
unmissable, adjective
unmissed, adjective
Can be confused
midst, missed, mist. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for miss out
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • A blind, mysterious asking for something haunted her, something it would be sad to miss out of her life.

    A Little Girl in Old Salem Amanda Minnie Douglas
  • You might make captain of the eleven and miss out on a senior election.

    Stover at Yale Owen Johnson
  • miss out anything superfluous; remember we've hardly any time.

    The Secret Service Submarine Cyril Arthur Edward Ranger Gull
  • So they decided to miss out tea, or rather combine it with supper, and continue looking for birds' nests.

    Dodo Wonders E. F. Benson
  • If one might be permitted to enter and leave at one's pleasure I would advise you to miss out the desultory First Act.

British Dictionary definitions for miss out

miss out

(transitive, adverb) to leave out; overlook
(intransitive, adverb) often foll by on. to fail to experience: by leaving early you missed out on the celebrations


to fail to reach, hit, meet, find, or attain (some specified or implied aim, goal, target, etc)
(transitive) to fail to attend or be present for: to miss a train, to miss an appointment
(transitive) to fail to see, hear, understand, or perceive: to miss a point
(transitive) to lose, overlook, or fail to take advantage of: to miss an opportunity
(transitive) to leave out; omit: to miss an entry in a list
(transitive) to discover or regret the loss or absence of: he missed his watch, she missed him
(transitive) to escape or avoid (something, esp a danger), usually narrowly: he missed death by inches
miss the boat, miss the bus, to lose an opportunity
a failure to reach, hit, meet, find, etc
(informal) give something a miss, to avoid (something): give the lecture a miss, give the pudding a miss
See also miss out
Derived Forms
missable, adjective
Word Origin
Old English missan (meaning: to fail to hit); related to Old High German missan, Old Norse missa


(informal) an unmarried woman or girl, esp a schoolgirl
Word Origin
C17: shortened form of mistress


a title of an unmarried woman or girl, usually used before the surname or sometimes alone in direct address
Word Origin
C17: shortened from mistress
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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Contemporary definitions for miss out

fail to get an opportunity or experience

Usage Note

colloquial's 21st Century Lexicon
Copyright © 2003-2014, LLC
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Word Origin and History for miss out



Old English missan "fail to hit, miss (a mark); fail in what was aimed at; escape (someone's notice)," influenced by Old Norse missa "to miss, to lack;" both from Proto-Germanic *missjan "to go wrong" (cf. Old Frisian missa, Middle Dutch, Dutch missen, German missen "to miss, fail"), from *missa- "in a changed manner," hence "abnormally, wrongly," from PIE root *mei- "to change" (root of mis- (1); see mutable). Related: Missed; missing.

Meaning "to fail to get what one wanted" is from mid-13c. Sense of "to escape, avoid" is from 1520s; that of "to perceive with regret the absence or loss of (something or someone)" is from late 15c. Sense of "to not be on time for" is from 1823; to miss the boat in the figurative sense of "be too late for" is from 1929, originally nautical slang. To miss out (on) "fail to get" is from 1929.


late 12c., "loss, lack; " c. 1200, "regret occasioned by loss or absence," from Old English miss "absence, loss," from source of missan "to miss" (see miss (v.)). Meaning "an act or fact of missing; a being without" is from late 15c.; meaning "a failure to hit or attain" is 1550s. To give something a miss "to abstain from, avoid" is from 1919. Phrase a miss is as good as a mile was originally, an inch, in a miss, is as good as an ell (see ell).

"the term of honour to a young girl" [Johnson], originally (c.1600) a shortened form of mistress. By 1640s as "prostitute, concubine;" sense of "title for a young unmarried woman, girl" first recorded 1660s. In the 1811 reprint of the slang dictionary, Miss Laycock is given as an underworld euphemism for "the monosyllable." Miss America is from 1922 as the title bestowed on the winner of an annual nationwide U.S. beauty/talent contest. Earlier it meant "young American women generally" or "the United States personified as a young woman," and it also was the name of a fast motor boat.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with miss out
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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