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A Miss is a Miss is a Miss

I read in Time about an asteroid that came within 17,200 miles of Earth. Astronomers call that a “near-miss.”

Airplanes that come within a mile of each other are also considered “near-misses.”

Dodgeballs that don’t touch you because you ducked could also be called “near-misses.”

But really, there’s no such thing. It’s a miss, pure and simple. As I read online, “A narrow miss is as bad as a wide miss — they’re both misses.” Distance has nothing to do with it.

The correct term, of course, is near-hit or near-collision. An asteroid nearly hit the Earth (although I would happily let everything miss me by 17,200 miles). Two airplanes nearly crashed into each other (giving perhaps an origin of missing by a mile?). And that dodgeball nearly hit your head, missing by inches (this is what I call a near-hit).

This is just another one of those stupid quirky terms we invented for reasons I can’t fathom. If I never heard it again, I would not nearly miss it.

Until next time! Use the right words!


February 21, 2013 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , ,

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