re·​miss ri-ˈmis How to pronounce remiss (audio)
: negligent in the performance of work or duty : careless
: showing neglect or inattention : lax
remissly adverb
remissness noun
Choose the Right Synonym for remiss

negligent, neglectful, lax, slack, remiss mean culpably careless or indicative of such carelessness.

negligent implies inattention to one's duty or business.

negligent about writing a note of thanks

neglectful adds a more disapproving implication of laziness or deliberate inattention.

a society callously neglectful of the poor

lax implies a blameworthy lack of strictness, severity, or precision.

a reporter lax about accurate quotation

slack implies want of due or necessary diligence or care.

slack workmanship

remiss implies blameworthy carelessness shown in slackness, forgetfulness, or neglect.

had been remiss in their familial duties

Examples of remiss in a Sentence

It would be remiss of me if I did not share with you the vital role God has played in my recovery. Jennifer Howard, Undoing Time, 2001
But if we do not address these complexities in the public arena, and in ways that are spatially theoretically grounded, we will be remiss in carrying out our scholarly and civic responsibilities. Saul B. Cohen, Annals of the Association of American Geographers, December 1991
"Well, Sally, I'm in fault, and I acknowledge it; I've been remiss; but I won't let tomorrow go by without stopping up them holes." Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, 1885
I would be remiss if I didn't tell you how much I appreciated the lovely gift.
Recent Examples on the Web While November may seem quite a ways away, the U.S. general election is quickly approaching, and employers would be remiss to ignore how the tense political climate could impact the workplace. Paige McGlauflin, Fortune, 4 Mar. 2024 Fans of Thomas Ligotti and lovers of nihilistic noir would be remiss to skip this dark gem. Gabino Iglesias, New York Times, 15 Oct. 2023 See all Example Sentences for remiss 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'remiss.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English remisse, borrowed from Latin remissus "relaxed, free from constraint, casual, lenient," from past participle of remittere "to send back, release, relax, ease off" — more at remit entry 1

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of remiss was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near remiss

Cite this Entry

“Remiss.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


re·​miss ri-ˈmis How to pronounce remiss (audio)
: careless in the performance of work or duty
remiss in paying one's bills
: showing neglect or lack of attention
service at the restaurant was remiss
remissly adverb
remissness noun

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