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

Example Sentences

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 Any season preview about the reigning N.B.A. champions, would be remiss without mentioning The Punch. Kris Rhim, New York Times, 17 Oct. 2022 Unfortunately, our president has been remiss in actually focusing on the real issue. Briana Stewart, ABC News, 5 Mar. 2022 Meanwhile, serious wine aficionados would be remiss in skipping out on dinner at 1621 Restaurant, a refined dining venue located just past the garden. Jared Ranahan, Forbes, 4 Aug. 2022 And trendwatchers would be remiss to overlook that this was in large part thanks to Kate Middleton. Roxanne Adamiyatt, Town & Country, 20 May 2022 As the 2022 awards race starts to take shape, Oscar-watchers would be remiss to underestimate The Power of the Dog. Mary Sollosi,, 22 Nov. 2021 While a detest for specific platforms such as TikTok is understandable, law firms are remiss to ignore the advantage of this type of medium. Yec, Forbes, 5 Nov. 2021 In several instances, schools or teachers were remiss in sharing study material online. Washington Post, 2 Oct. 2021 But teams would be remiss to think the development process is 90% complete. Greg Samios, Forbes, 24 Sep. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'remiss.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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 4 Feb. 2023.

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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