missile (n.)
"thing thrown or discharged as a weapon," is 1650s, from missile (adj.), 1610s, "capable of being thrown," chiefly in phrase missile weapon, from French missile and directly from Latin missilis "that may be thrown or hurled" (also, in plural, as a noun, "weapons that can be thrown, darts, javelins"), from missus "a throwing, hurling," past participle of mittere "to release, let go; send, throw" (see mission). Sense of "self-propelled rocket or bomb" is first recorded 1738; the modern remote guidance projectile so called from 1945.
missing (adj.)
"not present, absent," 1520s, from present participle of miss (v.). Military sense of "not present after a battle but not known to have been killed or captured" is from 1845. Missing link first attested 1851 in Lyell. Missing person is from 1876.
mission (n.)
1590s, "a sending abroad," originally of Jesuits, from Latin missionem (nominative missio) "act of sending, a dispatching; a release, a setting at liberty; discharge from service, dismissal," noun of action from past participle stem of mittere "to release, let go; send, throw," which de Vaan traces to a PIE *m(e)ith- "to exchange, remove," also source of Sanskrit methete, mimetha "to become hostile, quarrel," Gothic in-maidjan "to change;" he writes, "From original 'exchange', the meaning developed to 'give, bestow' ... and 'let go, send'."

Diplomatic sense of "body of persons sent to a foreign land on commercial or political business" is from 1620s. In American English, sometimes "an embassy" (1805). Meaning "dispatch of an aircraft on a military operation" (1929, American English) later extended to spacecraft flights (1962), hence, mission control (1964). As a style of furniture, said to be imitative of furniture in the buildings of original Spanish missions to North America, it is attested from 1900.
missionary (adj.)
"sent on a mission," 1640s, from Modern Latin missionarius "pertaining to a mission," from Latin missionem (see mission).
missionary (n.)
1650s, from missionary (adj.). Missionary position attested by 1963, said to have been coined by Kinsey (1948), who identified its origin in work done by Polish anthropologist Bronisław Malinowski in Melanesia in the 1920s; allegedly from the term used by South Pacific peoples to describe what Christian missionaries promoted to replace their local variations. By late 1960s it became the general term for this type of sex, formerly also known as the English-American position.
originally as the name of the river, from French, from Algonquian (French missionaries first penetrated the river valley in its upper reaches), literally "big river;" compare Ojibwa mshi- "big," ziibi "river." Organized as a U.S. territory 1798; admitted as a state 1817. Related: Mississippian.
missive (n.)
mid-15c., "commandment," noun use of adjective (mid-15c.) meaning "sent by superior authority," from Medieval Latin missivus "for sending, sent," especially in littera missiva "letters sent," from Latin missus, past participle of mittere "to send" (see mission).
originally a name for a group of native peoples among Chiwere (Siouan) tribes, from an Algonquian word recorded c. 1700, literally "people of the big canoes." The expression I'm from Missouri, you'll have to show me is attested from at least c. 1880. Related: Missourian.
misspeak (v.)
late 14c., "to say amiss," also "to speak insultingly," from mis- (1) + speak (v.). Related: Misspeaking; misspoken. Old English missprecan meant "to grumble, murmur."
misspell (v.)
1650s, from mis- (1) + spell (v.1). Related: Misspelled; misspelling.
misspend (v.)
also mis-spend, "to spend amiss or wastefully," late 14c.; see mis- (1) + spend. Related: Misspent, frequently coupled with youth; misspending.
misstate (v.)
also mis-state, 1640s, from mis- (1) + state (v.). Related: Misstated; misstating.
misstatement (n.)
1790, from misstate + -ment.
misstep (v.)
also mis-step, c. 1300; see mis- (1) + step (v.). The noun in the figurative sense of "faux pas" is first recorded c. 1800; literal sense is from 1837.
missus (n.)
corruption of mistress; as oral form of Mrs., from 1790; the missus "the wife" attested by 1833.
missy (n.)
"young girl," 1670s, playful form of miss (n.2), chiefly among servants at first.
mist (v.)
Old English mistian "to become misty, to be or grow misty;" see mist (n.). Meaning "To cover with mist" is early 15c. Related: Misted; misting.
mist (n.)
Old English mist "dimness (of eyesight), mist" (earliest in compounds, such as misthleoðu "misty cliffs," wælmist "mist of death"), from Proto-Germanic *mikhstaz (source also of Middle Low German mist, Dutch mist, Icelandic mistur, Norwegian and Swedish mist), perhaps from PIE *meigh- "to urinate" (source also of Greek omikhle, Old Church Slavonic migla, Sanskrit mih, megha "cloud, mist;" see micturition).
Sometimes distinguished from fog, either as being less opaque or as consisting of drops large enough to have a perceptible downward motion. [OED]
Also in Old English in sense of "dimness of the eyes, either by illness or tears," and in figurative sense of "things that obscure mental vision."
mistake (v.)
early 14c., "to commit an offense;" late 14c., "to misunderstand, misinterpret," from a Scandinavian source such as Old Norse mistaka "take in error, miscarry," from mis- "wrongly" (see mis- (1)) + taka "take" (see take (v.)). Related: Mistook; mistaking.
mistake (n.)
1630s, from mistake (v.).
An error is a wandering from truth, primarily in impression, judgment, or calculation and, by extension of the idea, in conduct; it may be a state. A mistake is a false judgment or choice; it does not, as error sometimes does, imply moral obliquity, the defect being placed wholly in the wisdom of the actor, and in its treatment of this defect the word is altogether gentle. [Century Dictionary, 1897]
Meaning "unintended pregnancy" is from 1957.
mistaken (adj.)
c. 1600, "under misapprehension," past participle adjective from mistake (v.). Related: Mistakenly. Mistaken identity attested from 1865.
as a title of courtesy before a man's Christian name, mid-15c., unaccented variant of master (n.). As a form of address, without a name and with a tinge of rudeness, from 1760.
misthink (v.)
Old English misðyncan "to be mistaken;" see mis- (1) + think (v.). From early 13c. as "to have sinful thoughts;" from 1590s as "to think ill of."
mistime (v.)
late Old English mistimian "to happen amiss" (of an event); see mis- (1) + time (v.). Meaning "not to time properly" is first recorded late 14c. Related: Mistimed; mistiming.
mistletoe (n.)
Old English mistiltan, from mistel "mistletoe" (see missel) + tan "twig." Similar formation in Old Norse mistilteinn, Norwegian misteltein, Danish mistelten. The second element is cognate with Old Saxon and Old Frisian ten, Old Norse teinn, Dutch teen, Old High German zein, Gothic tains "twig." Venerated by the Druids; the custom of hanging it at Christmas and kissing under it is mentioned by Washington Irving.
mistral (n.)
"cold northerly wind on the Mediterranean coast of France," c. 1600, from French, from Provençal mistral, literally "the dominant wind," from mistral (adj.) "dominant," from Latin magistralis "dominant," from magister "master" (see master (n.)).
mistranslate (v.)
1530s, from mis- (1) + translate. Related: Mistranslated; mistranslating.
mistranslation (n.)
1690s, from mis- (1) + translation.
mistreat (v.)
mid-15c.; see mis- (1) + treat (v.). Related: Mistreated; mistreating.
mistreatment (n.)
1716, from mistreat + -ment.
mistress (n.)
early 14c., "female teacher, governess," from Old French maistresse "mistress (lover); housekeeper; governess, female teacher" (Modern French maîtresse), fem. of maistre "master" (see master (n.)). Sense of "a woman who employs others or has authority over servants" is from early 15c. Sense of "kept woman of a married man" is from early 15c.
mistrial (n.)
1620s; see mis- (1) + trial (n.).
mistrust (v.)
late 14c., from mis- (1) + trust (v.). Related: Mistrusted; mistrusting.
mistrust (n.)
late 14c.; see mis- (1) + trust (n.).
misty (adj.)
Old English mistig; see mist (n.) + -y (2). Related: Mistily; mistiness.
misunderstand (v.)
c. 1200; see mis- (1) + understand. Related: Misunderstood; misunderstanding.
misunderstanding (n.)
"want of understanding," mid-15c., from present participle of misunderstand.
When misunderstanding serves others as an advantage, one is helpless to make oneself understood. [Lionel Trilling]
Meaning "dissention, disagreement" is first recorded 1640s.
misunderstood (adj.)
1590s, past participle adjective from misunderstand.
misuse (n.)
late 14c., from mis- (1) + use (n.). It aligns with the older sense of the verb misuse.
misuse (v.)
late 14c., "to use improperly;" see mis- (1) + use (v.). Meaning "to subject to ill-treatment" is attested from 1530s. Related: Misused; misusing.
originally M.I.T., abbreviation of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, attested from 1892.
mite (n.2)
"little bit," mid-14c., from Middle Dutch or Middle Low German mite "tiny animal," from Proto-Germanic *miton-, from PIE root *mei- (2) "small," and thus probably identical with mite (n.1). Also the name of a medieval Flemish copper coin of very small value, proverbial in English for "a very small unit of money," hence used since Wyclif to translate Latin minutum from Vulgate in Mark xii.43, itself a translation of Greek lepton. French mite (14c.) is a loan-word from Dutch.
mite (n.1)
"tiny animal, minute arachnid," Old English mite, from Proto-Germanic *miton (source also of Middle Dutch mite, Dutch mijt, Old High German miza, Danish mide) originally meaning perhaps "the cutter," in reference to its bite, from Proto-Germanic *mait- (source also of Gothic maitan, Old High German meizen "to cut"), from PIE root *mai- (1) "to cut" (see maim). Or else its original sense is "something small," and it is from PIE root *mei- (2) "small," in reference to size.
miter (n.2)
in the carpentry sense of "joint at a 45 degree angle," 1670s, perhaps from mitre, via notion of joining of the two peaks of the folded cap. As a verb from 1731.
miter (n.1)
alternative spelling of mitre (see -re).
Persian god of light, 1550s, from Latin, from Greek Mithras, from Avestan Mithra-, from Indo-Iranian *mitram "contract," whence *mitras "contractual partner, friend," conceptualized as a god, or, according to Kent, first the epithet of a divinity and eventually his name. Perhaps from PIE root *mei- (1) "to change; exchange," on the notion of "god of the contract" [Watkins]. Related to Sanskrit Mitrah, a Vedic deity associated with Varuna. "His name is one of the earliest Indic words we possess, being found in clay tablets from Anatolia dating to about 1500 B.C." [Calvert Watkins, "Dictionary of Indo-European Roots," 2000]. Related: Mithraic; Mithraism.
mithridate (n.)
"antidote against poison," from Medieval Latin mithridatum, from Late Latin mithridatium, neuter of Mithridatius "pertaining to Mithridates," king of Pontus, who made himself poison-proof.
mithril (n.)
1954, an invented word by English author J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973).
mitigant (adj.)
1540s, from Latin mitigantem, present participle of mitigare (see mitigate). As a noun from 1865.
mitigate (v.)
early 15c., "relieve (pain)," from Latin mitigatus, past participle of mitigare "soften, make tender, ripen, mellow, tame," figuratively, "make mild or gentle, pacify, soothe," ultimately from mitis "gentle, soft" + root of agere "to do, perform" (from PIE root *ag- "to drive, draw out or forth, move"). For mitis de Vaan suggests cognates in Sanskrit mayas- "refreshment, enjoyment," Lithuanian mielas "nice, sweet, dear," Welsh mwydion "soft parts," Old Irish min "soft," from a PIE *mehiti- "soft." Related: Mitigated; mitigating; mitigates.