(root of mis- (1); see mutable
). 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. The noun meaning "a failure to hit or attain" is recorded from 1550s (O.E. noun *miss meant "absence, loss"). 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
). To miss out (on) "fail to get" is from 1929. Missing link first attested 1851 in Lyell. Missing person is from 1876.
"the term of honour to a young girl" [Johnson], shortened form of mistress
. Earliest use (1645) is for "prostitute, concubine;" sense of "title for a young unmarried woman, girl" first recorded 1666. In the 1811 reprint of the slang dictionary, Miss Laycock is given as
an underworld euphemism for "the monosyllable."