Definitions

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

  • n. A narrowly avoided collision involving two or more aircraft, ships, boats, or motor vehicles.
  • n. A missile strike that is extremely close to but not directly on target.
  • n. Something that fails by a very narrow margin: Her campaign for the Senate was a near miss.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. a miss which was nearly a hit or collision
  • n. a scenario which ends safely but might well have ended in disaster
  • n. an attempt which fails narrowly; a performance which falls just short of a certain benchmark

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

  • n. an accidental collision that is narrowly avoided

Etymologies

Blend of near thing and miss1.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • The story had everything: eccentric outsiders, mysterious technology, eye-kicking shots of the wild, even a near miss with a mag-lev train.

    Extras

  • Then Killeen noticed a small dark patch on Waugh's boot, a flaw perhaps struck by a near miss during the attack.

    Tides Of Light

  • Sergeant Al Hobbs temporarily abandoned the shelter of his trench to go to the aid of two soldiers partially buried by a near miss on a nearby trench, and got back unscathed but trembling from the attempt.

    First Clash

  • Another shuttle near miss occurred on STS-112 when a circuit failure resulted in only one set of the hold-down bolt initiators firing at liftoff.

    Riding Rockets

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