from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Out of proper order: What is amiss?
  • adj. Not in perfect shape; faulty.
  • adv. In an improper, defective, unfortunate, or mistaken way.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Wrong; faulty; out of order; improper; as, it may not be amiss to ask advice.
  • adv. Mistakenly
  • adv. Astray
  • adv. Wrongly.
  • n. Fault; wrong; an evil act, a bad deed.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Wrong; faulty; out of order; improper.
  • adv. Astray; faultily; improperly; wrongly; ill.
  • n. A fault, wrong, or mistake.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Away from the mark; out of the way; out of the proper course or order; in a faulty manner; wrongly; in a manner contrary to propriety, truth, law, or morality.
  • Improper; wrong; faulty: used only in the predicate: as, it may not be amiss to ask advice.
  • n. Fault; wrong: as, “some great amiss,”

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. not functioning properly
  • adv. in an improper or mistaken or unfortunate manner
  • adv. in an imperfect or faulty way
  • adv. away from the correct or expected course


Middle English amis, probably from Old Norse ā mis, so as to miss : ā, on; see an- in Indo-European roots + mis, act of missing; see mei-1 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From a +‎ miss. (Wiktionary)



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  • "You ask, and receive not, because you ask amiss, that you might consume it upon thy lusts.�?

    July 28, 2009

  • Her sonne new dead, some briny drops to shed?
    When she a while hath spoke her griefe in teares,
    With patience then, of patience she heares.
    Out of due season who so Physicke gi's,
    Though it cause health, yet hath he done amisse.
    And friendly counsell vrged out of date
    Doth fret the sore and cause the hearers hate.

    - Sir Thomas Overbury, 'The Remedy of Loue'.

    July 28, 2009