- miss (v.)
- Old English missan "fail to hit, miss (a mark); fail in what was aimed at; escape (someone's notice)," influenced by Old Norse missa "to miss, to lack;" both from Proto-Germanic *missjan "to go wrong" (cognates: Old Frisian missa, Middle Dutch, Dutch missen, German missen "to miss, fail"), from *missa- "in a changed manner," hence "abnormally, wrongly," from PIE root *mei- (1) "to change" (root of mis- (1); see mutable). Related: Missed; missing.
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. To miss out (on) "fail to get" is from 1929.
- miss (n.2)
- "the term of honour to a young girl" [Johnson], originally (c.1600) a shortened form of mistress. By 1640s as "prostitute, concubine;" sense of "title for a young unmarried woman, girl" first recorded 1660s. In the 1811 reprint of the slang dictionary, Miss Laycock is given as an underworld euphemism for "the monosyllable." Miss America is from 1922 as the title bestowed on the winner of an annual nationwide U.S. beauty/talent contest. Earlier it meant "young American women generally" or "the United States personified as a young woman," and it also was the name of a fast motor boat.
- miss (n.1)
- late 12c., "loss, lack; " c. 1200, "regret occasioned by loss or absence," from Old English miss "absence, loss," from source of missan "to miss" (see miss (v.)). Meaning "an act or fact of missing; a being without" is from late 15c.; meaning "a failure to hit or attain" is 1550s. 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).