near miss

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English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Noun[edit]

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near miss (plural near misses)

  1. a miss which was nearly a hit or collision
    • 1975 John F. Hilgenberg; quoted in Arthur J. C. Lavalle, Last flight from Saigon (USAF, 1978), p.101:
      ... two aircraft, one flying level across the field, another climbing after a missed approach, had an extremely near miss, in my estimation, less than 50 feet, before the lower pilot saw the higher aircraft and broke violently to the right in the darkness.
    • 2000 Samuel B. Griffith The Battle for Guadalcanal (University of Illinois Press, ISBN 9780252068911) p.177:
      The first wave, 24 dive bombers, fell on her through broken clouds; she took two hits and an uncomfortably close near miss.
  2. (by extension) a scenario which ends safely but might well have ended in disaster
    • 2009 Mine Safety and Health Administration Failure to Operate Boom Trucks Safely Using Proper Procedures, 27 April 2009:
      In recent years there have been two fatalities and one near miss due to the inappropriate use of boom trucks.
    • 2010 Sweden's Near Miss New York Times 14 December 2010, p.A34
      As in New York City’s Times Square seven months ago, hundreds of innocent bystanders might have been killed. Fortunately, the would-be terrorist was the only fatality.
  3. (by extension) an attempt which fails narrowly; a performance which falls just short of a certain benchmark
    • 1962 "No Chance Tears After Near Miss", Lawrence Journal-World (Lawrence, Kansas) 11 September 1962, p.16:
      Dean Chance ... wasn't crying over his near miss of a no-hitter Monday night.
    • 2011 Robert Kitson "Six Nations 2011: Luke McLean happy to swap green and gold for blue" The Guardian (London) 11 February 2011:
      Italy know they cannot wallow in the disappointment of last week's agonising near miss against Ireland.
    • 2011 September 24, David Ornstein, “Arsenal 3 - 0 Bolton”, BBC Sport:
      After several near misses, Van Persie finally reached three figures by turning in Walcott's cross before Jaaskelainen saved from Walcott when one-on-one.

Usage notes[edit]

It is sometimes claimed that concept of a near miss would be better expressed as near hit. However, near is used in the phrase with the sense "close" (compare "near future", "near neighbour") rather than the sense "approximate" (compare "near certainty", "near standstill").

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