off the mark

Idioms & Phrases

off the mark

Also, wide of the mark. Inaccurate, wrong, as in The forecast was off the mark, since unemployment is down, or His answers on the test were just wide of the mark. It is also put as miss the mark, meaning "be mistaken," as in The minister missed the mark when he assumed everyone would contribute to the supper. All these terms allude to mark in the sense of "a target," as do the antonyms on the mark and hit the mark, meaning "exactly right," as in He was right on the mark with that budget amendment, or Bill hit the mark when he accused Tom of lying. [Mid-1300s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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