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miss 1 (mĭs)
v. missed, miss·ing, miss·es
1. To fail to hit, reach, catch, or otherwise make contact with: He swung at and missed the ball. The winger missed the pass. The ball missed the basket.
2. To be too late for or fail to meet (a train, for example).
3. To fail to perceive, experience, or understand: I missed my favorite TV show last night. You completely missed the point of the film.
4. To fail to accomplish or achieve: just missed setting a new record.
5. To fail to attend or perform: never missed a day of work.
6. To fail to answer correctly: missed three questions on the test.
7. To fail to benefit from; let slip: miss a chance.
8. To escape or avoid: We took a different way and missed the traffic jam.
9. To discover the absence or loss of: I missed my book after getting off the bus.
10. To be without; lack: a cart that is missing a wheel.
11. To feel the lack or loss of: Do you miss your family?
1. To fail to hit or otherwise make contact with something: took a shot near the goal and missed.
a. To be unsuccessful; fail: a money-making scheme that can't miss.
b. To misfire, as an internal-combustion engine.
1. A failure to hit or make contact with something.
2. A failure to be successful: The new movie was a miss.
3. The misfiring of an engine.
miss fire
1. To fail to discharge. Used of a firearm.
2. To fail to achieve the anticipated result.
miss out on
To lose a chance for: missed out on the promotion.
miss the boat Informal
1. To fail to avail oneself of an opportunity.
2. To fail to understand.

[Middle English missen, from Old English missan; see mei-1 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
miss 2 (mĭs)
1. Miss Used as a courtesy title before the surname or full name of a girl or single woman.
2. Used as a form of polite address for a girl or young woman: I beg your pardon, miss.
3. A young unmarried woman.
4. Miss Used in informal titles for a young woman to indicate the epitomizing of an attribute or activity: Miss Organization; Miss Opera.
5. mis·ses A series of clothing sizes for women and girls of average height and proportions.

[Short for MISTRESS.]

Usage Note: Many languages have courtesy titles that distinguish women based on marital status and age. In English, for example, Mrs. has traditionally been used for married women and Miss for unmarried women and girls. Equivalents in French, Spanish, Italian, and German are Madame/Mademoiselle, Señora/Señorita, Signora/Signorina, and Frau/Fräulein, respectively. Many women, however, find the focus on a woman's marital status (a distinction which isn't made in male courtesy titles, such as Mr. and Herr) offensive. Because of this view, in some languages courtesy titles that once indicated "married" are becoming more widely used as the polite form of address for all women. In Germany and France, Fräulein and Mademoiselle are no longer listed on official forms and documents. English is unique in its creation of a title, Ms., that like Mr., reveals nothing about one's marital status. Despite this move away from the traditional structure for female courtesy titles, in all cultures some women still prefer the traditional forms. If possible, one should refer to a woman with the courtesy title she prefers. However, when in doubt as to a woman's preference, the custom in English is to use Ms. and, in many other languages, to use the title formerly reserved for married women.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.

Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices

    Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:

    Indo-European Roots

    Semitic Roots

    The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.