Thursday, August 11, 2011

Near Miss Pedantry

"Near miss" is a correct term to describe something that comes close to hitting something else.  I hate it when people say that "near miss" would really be a collision.  The most common meaning of near means close, usually in space.  If I am shooting at a target and I got close to it but didn't quite hit it, that would both be a miss and it would be near the target, therefore it would be a "near miss".  If I had missed way off to the side, it would be a "far miss".  You could say "The miss was near the target", so why can't you call it a "near miss"?

If you have a low ceiling you might say "The ceiling is near".  You could say it was a "near ceiling".  It would be a stretch to interpret this as meaning "It is almost a ceiling, but not quite."

Why do so many pedants skip to the fifth definition when complaining about this term?

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