AskDefine | Define miss

Dictionary Definition



1 a young woman; "a young lady of 18" [syn: girl, missy, young lady, young woman, fille]
2 a failure to hit (or meet or find etc) [syn: misfire]


1 fail to perceive or to catch with the senses or the mind; "I missed that remark"; "She missed his point"; "We lost part of what he said" [syn: lose]
2 feel or suffer from the lack of; "He misses his mother"
3 fail to attend an event or activity; "I missed the concert"; "He missed school for a week" [ant: attend]
4 leave undone or leave out; "How could I miss that typo?"; "The workers on the conveyor belt miss one out of ten" [syn: neglect, pretermit, omit, drop, leave out, overlook, overleap] [ant: attend to]
5 fail to reach or get to; "She missed her train"
6 be without; "This soup lacks salt"; "There is something missing in my jewellery box!" [syn: lack] [ant: have]
7 fail to reach; "The arrow missed the target" [ant: hit]
8 be absent; "The child had been missing for a week"
9 fail to experience; "Fortunately, I missed the hurricane" [syn: escape]

User Contributed Dictionary



  • /mɪs/
  • Rhymes with: -ɪs

Etymology 1

From missan.


  1. To fail to hit.
    I missed the target.
  2. To feel the absence of someone or something, sometimes with regret.
    I miss you!
  3. To fail to understand or have a shortcoming of perception.
    miss the joke
  4. To fail to attend.
    Joe missed the meeting this morning.
  5. To fail to board (a means of transportation).
    I missed the plane!
Usage notes
to fail to hit
to feel the absence of someone or something
to avoid
  • Dutch: ontwijken, missen
  • Finnish: välttää
  • Hungarian: kitér
  • Portuguese: evitar
  • Swedish: undvika
to fail to understand
  • Dutch: niet snappen, ergens overheen kijken (also figuratively ignore), ergens overheen lezen (when reading)
  • Finnish: missata (slang), ei ymmärtää (not to understand)
  • Portuguese: não perceber, não compreender (not to understand)
  • Swedish: missa
to fail to attend
not meeting a ride or a form of transportation


  1. A failure to hit.
  2. A failure to obtain or accomplish.
  3. An act of avoidance.
    I think I’ll give the meeting a miss.
a failure to hit
a failure to obtain or accomplish
  • Dutch: mislukking
  • Finnish: epäonnistuminen
  • Swedish: misslyckande

Etymology 2

From mistress.


  1. A title of respect for a young woman (usually unmarried) with or without a name used.
    You may sit here, miss.
    You may sit here, Miss Jones.
  2. An unmarried woman; a girl.
Related terms
title of respect for a young woman
unmarried woman



  • /mɪs/


  1. A winner of a beauty contest.
    Annelien Coorevits was Miss België in 2007.
    Annelien Coorevits was Miss Belgium in 2007.
  2. A beauty.
  3. A girl with a high self-esteem.
    Dat is nogal een miss, hoor.
    She has some air.



  1. Singular imperative of messen.




  1. A failure to hit.
  2. A mistake.
  3. A beauty; a winner of a beauty contest.

Extensive Definition

Miss (pronounced [mɪs]) is a title typically used for an unmarried woman (not entitled to a higher title). It is a contraction of mistress, originating during the 17th Century; however, a period (to signify the contraction) is generally not used. Its counterpart, Mrs., is used for married women. Ms. is used for women regardless of marital status.


Miss can be used in direct address to a woman, for example, May I help you, Miss? By British tradition, Miss is often used by schoolchildren to address female teachers without using their name, regardless of marital status. This is also seen in some Commonwealth nations such as India and Canada.
In some styles of etiquette, the eldest daughter of a family was addressed on paper simply as Miss Doe, with the younger daughters being addressed as Miss Jane Doe and Miss Rebecca Doe. In person, as in when making introductions, the styling would have been extended to unmarried cosed irrespective of marital status and added to a woman's first name in direct or indirect address, as Miss Ellen from Gone with the Wind or Miss Ellie from Dallas. This form was also used in upper class households in all English-speaking countries by servants to address or refer to the unmarried ladies of the household, and occasionally in family-run businesses in the same manner, though more commonly it was used to address servants if they were addressed by title at all.
Miss was formerly the default title for a businesswoman, but it has largely been replaced by Ms. in this context. It was (and to some extent remains) also a default title for celebrities, such as actresses (Miss Helen Hayes, Miss Amelia Earhart). Such default usage has also proved problematic; the poet Dorothy Parker was often referred to as Miss Parker, even though Parker was the name of her first husband and she herself preferred Mrs. Parker. Later in the century, the use of "Miss" or "Mrs" became a problem for the New York Times in referring to political candidate Geraldine Ferraro, a married woman who did not use her husband's surname, since Mrs has only been used with a woman's maiden name in limited circumstances in public life before the 1980's. (See more at Mrs.) Current American etiquette states that Ms. is preferred for a woman who has kept her maiden name after marriage and where one is not sure of how the woman wants to be addressed. While Miss is still used, it is most frequently used to refer to girls under eighteen.
The prescription that all women (regardless of marital status, profession or age) should use Ms., has been mooted. However, in actual contemporary usage, many women still prefer to be referred to as Miss, for example the American media personality, Miss Jones. An example of Miss used in a contemporary formal setting, and to address a woman considerably older than 18, is found in the 2007 film Lions for Lambs. The senator played by Tom Cruise addresses a senior journalist played by Meryl Streep. Her character, Janine Roth, is addressed as Miss Roth. 21st century etiquette typically consults a woman for her preference of title, while using Ms. if this is impractical. This is common practice in forms that provide options for title — for example, Dr, Ms, Mrs or Miss.
Another notable use of Miss is as the title of a beauty queen (given that in most pageants it is a requirement that contestants be unmarried), such as Miss America, Miss Universe, or Miss Congeniality.
Other languages, such as French, Spanish, Bulgarian, and Portuguese, have borrowed the English Miss to refer to the winner of a beauty pageant.
Miss can be used in the plural, as Misses. The usage The Misses Doe was often used in the United Kingdom to refer to unmarried sisters, but this usage is now largely obsolete.

Foreign equivalents

Rough foreign equivalents of Miss are:
  • Afrikaans Juffrou
  • Albanian Zonjusha
  • Arabic آّنسة (ānisah)
  • Azeri Xanımqız
  • Bosnian Gospođica (Gđica)
  • Bulgarian Госпожица (pronounced gospozhitsa)
  • Chinese 小姐 (xiao jie)
  • Croatian Gospođica (Gđica)
  • Czech Slečna
  • Danish Frøken (Frk.)
  • Dutch Juffrouw (Mej.)
  • Esperanto Fraŭlino (F-ino)
  • Estonian Preili (Prl.)
  • Filipino Binibini (Bb.)
  • Finnish Neiti (Nti)
  • French Mademoiselle (Mlle)
  • German Fräulein (Frl.)
  • Greek Δεσποινίς, Despoinis, pronounced the-spin-EES, abbreviation: Δις, Dis, only used for girls obviously younger than 18
  • Hebrew g'veret
  • Hungarian kisasszony
  • Icelandic Ungfrú (suffix)
  • Indonesian Nona (Nn.)
  • Irish Ógbhean(-uasal)
  • Italian Signorina (
  • Japanese 嬢, pronounced Jō
  • Korean 아가씨 (Ah Ga Ci)
  • Latvian Jaunkundze
  • Lithuanian Panelė
  • Luxemburgish Joffer
  • Macedonian Госпоѓица (Г-ѓица)
  • Malaysian Cik
  • Maltese Sinjorina
  • Mandarin Chinese 小姐 (xiáo jiě)
  • Norwegian Frøken (Frk.)
  • Persian خانم (khanoom) - دختر خانم - دوشيزه
  • Polish Panna
  • Portuguese Menina (Mna.) or Senhorita (Srta.)
  • Romanian "Domnişoara" (D-ra)
  • Russian Госпожа (gospozha)
  • Sanskrit (and Indian languages) Kumāri
  • Scots Gaelic Maighdeann(-uasal) (Mh(uas).)
  • Serbian Gospođica (Gđica)
  • Slovak Slečna
  • Slovenian Gospodična (Gdč.)
  • Spanish Señorita (Srta.)
  • Swedish Fröken (Frk.)
  • Turkish Bayan
  • Ukrainian Панні (panni)
  • Welsh Bonesig
miss in Breton: Dimezell
miss in Danish: Frøken
miss in German: Fräulein
miss in Scottish Gaelic: Maighdeann (labhair ri)
miss in Dutch: Juffrouw
miss in Portuguese: Miss
miss in Quechua: Sipas
miss in Russian: Госпожа
miss in Albanian: Miss
miss in Slovenian: Miss
miss in Swedish: Fröken
miss in Chinese: 小姐

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

abandon, avoid, babe, baby, bachelor girl, be bereaved of, be blind to, be caught out, be inattentive, be unwary, bird, blink at, blunder, broad, bungle, chick, clerical error, coed, colleen, come short, connive at, corrigendum, cut, cutie, dame, damoiselle, damsel, default, demoiselle, discount, disregard, dodge, doll, drop, err, erratum, error, escape, evade, fail, failure, fall down, fall short, fault, faute, filly, foozle, forfeit, forget, forgo, frail, gal, girl, girlie, give no heed, go amiss, go astray, go astray from, goldbrick, goof, goof off, groupie, hear nothing, heifer, hoyden, human error, ignore, incur loss, jeune fille, jill, jump, junior miss, kiss good-bye, lack, lass, lassie, leave, leave loose ends, leave out, leave undone, let alone, let be, let dangle, let go, let pass, let slip, little missy, long for, lose, lose out, mademoiselle, maid, maiden, make light of, malinger, misapprehend, misapprehension, miscalculation, miscarriage, miscarry, misconceive, misconception, misconstrue, miscount, misdeal, misexplain, misfire, misidentification, misinterpret, misjudgment, mislay, misplace, misplay, misprint, misquotation, misread, misreport, miss out, miss stays, miss the boat, miss the mark, misstatement, missy, mistake, mistranslate, misunderstand, misunderstanding, misuse, near-miss, need, not attend, not bear inspection, not hack it, not heed, not listen, not make it, not measure up, not notice, not pass muster, not qualify, nymph, nymphet, old maid, omission, omit, overlook, oversight, pass, pass by, pass over, pass up, pay no attention, pay no mind, piece, pine for, pretermit, procrastinate, require, romp, run short of, sacrifice, schoolgirl, schoolmaid, schoolmiss, see nothing, shirk, skip, skirt, slack, slight, slip, slip up, slipup, spinster, subdeb, subdebutante, subteen, subteener, suffer loss, teenager, teenybopper, think little of, tomato, tomboy, trifle, typo, typographical error, undergo privation, virgin, wander from, want, wench, wink at, wish for, yearn for, young creature, young thingFrau, Fraulein, Mistress, Mlle, Mme, Mmes, dame, dona, donna, lady, madam, madame, mademoiselle, mem-sahib, mesdames, senhora, senhorita, signora, signorina, vrouw
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