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English idiom: Miss the boat

The idiom which is going to be discussed here in this post is: Miss the boat, so notice the following example to start understanding the meaning of this popular idiom:

James: What happened to your job interview?
Amelia: I couldn’t do it.
James: What do you mean?
Amelia: Actually I missed the boat and registered too late, so I couldn’t take part in any interview.

As you can see from the above example, Amelia couldn’t take part in the job interview because when she registered for the job it was too late, so she couldn’t meet the deadline for this registration and she used the phrase ‘Miss the boat’ which means too late for her chance to get this opportunity.

Miss the boat
Miss the bus


  • to miss a chance
  • to miss out on something
  • to lose an opportunity by being slow to act
  • to be too slow to take advantage of an opportunity
English idiom: Miss the boat

English idiom: Miss the boat

Idiom #254

Miss the boat / bus

This idiom is used to say that someone missed his or her chance

To know more about this idiom let’s check the definition of this idiom in some great dictionaries:

Miss the boat :

be too slow to take advantage of something

to lose an opportunity to do something by being slow to act

1- to fail to take advantage of an opportunity
2- to miss the point of; fail to understand

informal – to fail to take an opportunity that will give you an advantage

to fail to take advantage of an opportunity

Related words and phrases:
be behindhand, be late, be overdue, blow the chance, get up late, go amiss, go astray, keep everyone waiting, keep late hours, lose the chance, lose the opportunity, miscarry, misfire, miss, miss an opportunity, miss out, miss stays, miss the chance, miss the mark, neglect the opportunity, oversleep, show up late, stay late, stay up late


This phrase has been used since the 1900s. and the main meaning is related to losing an opportunity. 

Boats and buses have schedule for commuting, so you must get there on time to reach the boat (bus) otherwise if you late, you will miss it and it makes you to be disappointed because you have left the opportunity of reaching the boat (bus).  

Miss the boat / bus

Miss the boat / bus

Let’s take a look at some examples about this idiom to understand it better:
• I missed the bus and I couldn’t explain my idea in a proper time.
• She missed the boat when she could not apply for the job in time.
• You need to make a decision soon and not miss the boat to buy the shares.
• He missed the boat when he applied too late for the new immigration program.
• He missed the boat and when he received to the stadium the match was finished.
• The discounted price sale has ended yesterday and I just missed the boat for buying that iPhone.
• If you don’t act fast you will miss the boat while there are some people who are waiting to grab an opportunity.

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