1 [mis]
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 ).

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

missable, adjective
unmissable, adjective
unmissed, adjective

midst, missed, mist.
Dictionary.com Unabridged


2 [mis]
noun, plural misses.
(initial capital letter) a title of respect for an unmarried woman, conventionally prefixed to her name or to the name of that which she represents: Miss Mary Jones; Miss Sweden.
(used by itself, as a term of address, especially to a young woman): Miss, please bring me some ketchup.
(initial capital letter) a title prefixed to a mock surname used to represent a particular attribute of the person, especially one excessively prominent: Miss Innocent; Miss Congeniality.
a young unmarried woman; girl: a radiant miss of 18 or so.
a range of sizes, chiefly from 6 to 20, for garments that fit women of average height and build.
the department or section of a store where these garments are sold.
a garment in this size range.

1600–10; short for mistress

See Ms.



Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To Miss
World English Dictionary
miss1 (mɪs)
1.  to fail to reach, hit, meet, find, or attain (some specified or implied aim, goal, target, etc)
2.  (tr) to fail to attend or be present for: to miss a train; to miss an appointment
3.  (tr) to fail to see, hear, understand, or perceive: to miss a point
4.  (tr) to lose, overlook, or fail to take advantage of: to miss an opportunity
5.  (tr) to leave out; omit: to miss an entry in a list
6.  (tr) to discover or regret the loss or absence of: he missed his watch; she missed him
7.  (tr) to escape or avoid (something, esp a danger), usually narrowly: he missed death by inches
8.  miss the boat, miss the bus to lose an opportunity
9.  a failure to reach, hit, meet, find, etc
10.  informal give something a miss to avoid (something): give the lecture a miss; give the pudding a miss
[Old English missan (meaning: to fail to hit); related to Old High German missan, Old Norse missa]

miss2 (mɪs)
informal an unmarried woman or girl, esp a schoolgirl
[C17: shortened form of mistress]

Miss (mɪs)
a title of an unmarried woman or girl, usually used before the surname or sometimes alone in direct address
[C17: shortened from mistress]

abbreviation for

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

O.E. missan "fail to hit, fail in what was aimed at," influenced by O.N. missa "to miss, to lack;" both from P.Gmc. *missjan "to go wrong" (cf. O.Fris. missa, M.Du. missen, Ger. missen "to miss, fail"), from *missa- "in a changed manner," hence "abnormally, wrongly," from PIE base *mei- "to change"
(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."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Abbreviations & Acronyms
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


In addition to the idioms beginning with miss, also see heart misses a beat; hit or miss; near miss; not miss a trick.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
We will miss you every single day.
These are destinations we believe no curious traveler should miss.
This tiny burg, with a population just north of 1200, is easy to miss.
Hard to accept that doctors miss things.
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