In this fast changing world concepts, idioms and even words are taking new meanings and creating confusion for those who have become accustomed to the previous meanings and their application. One such word is “Miss”. While it’s meaning describing it as a title before the surname or full name of a girl or single woman remains unchanged, the other meaning given below is in a state of flux.

1. To fail to hit, reach, catch, meet, or otherwise make contact with.

2. To fail to perceive, understand, or experience: completely missed the point of the film.

3. To fail to accomplish, achieve, or attain (a goal).

4. To fail to attend or perform: never missed a day of work.


a. To leave out; omit.

b. To let go by; let slip: miss a chance.

6. To escape or avoid: narrowly missed crashing into the tree.

7. To discover the absence or loss of: I missed my book after getting off the bus.

8. To feel the lack or loss of: Do you miss your family?

From the above meanings it is clear that to miss is to fail to do some specific task by chance at a particular time due to some reason beyond control of a person or negligence, but certainly not intentionally. There seems to be a permanence attached to this omission. “Missing the bus” is an example that means failure to board a bus at the right time and thus unable to reach the intended place at the right time. It is mostly used to mean missing an opportunity or losing something. Thus missing something creates a situation of losing, and the loss is irretrievable. The bus that was missed will never come back at the same place and time on the same day. An opportunity missed is gone forever.

The introduction of mobile or cell phone technology has brought revolutionary improvements in telecommunication making flow of information easier as well as fast. It has brought a great degree of certainty to interpersonal communication. The CLI facility has ensured that the receiver of the call is mostly aware of the identity of the caller if he is already known and his cell number uploaded by the receiver. Even if  the receiver missed the call in the first instance due to some reason the number is highlighted in his set  screen as a “Missed Call”, and whenever he has a look he can callback. The caller also has the option to send a message to the receiver about the matter. These facilities almost ensure that the intended communication takes place. But, why the call that could not access the receiver the first time is called a missed call?  As earlier discussed according to the definition of “missing” or “miss”, it is something that cannot be retrieved and is an opportunity or act that cannot be undone. In a missed call this is not the case except if the receiver is bent upon not receiving the call as a deliberate act, which again takes it out from the definition of something missed. Another important part of the definition  of  missing stipulates some loss to the person missing, but in a missed call as the options of call back by the receiver as well as SMS by the caller are available the loss factor ceases to exist. However, there chances that he may gain instead of losing. If the receiver calls back the caller gains in terms of the cost of the call and it has been noticed that some people have made it a habit to economize by dialing and then disconnecting to convert the call to a missed call and to save money.

The above analysis makes it clear that a missed call is not something missed in the common parlance and is called so due to the first miss to access the receiver. It is a new type of miss and must not be confused with our good old “Miss”. But, I think I am missing a point here, calling the “Miss” old is something that might  be taken as blasphemous and may also cast aspersions on one of  the definition of the  “Miss” that describe it as “A young unmarried woman.”  Coming back to the habitual missed call makers my advice to them is don’t take it too far and find other ways of saving money, because, if they are exposed then their calls will be missed forever and then their missed calls will really become missed calls. Humor apart, misusing a facility for improper gain and that too from someone known is going too far and cannot be taken as fair. So miss call mis-users find some other way of economizing and don’t put your near and dear ones to stress and tension.

Tasneem Hameed

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