Miss the boat


      • miss an opportunity
        When someone has missed a chance or opportunity to do something, often due to not acting quickly enough or being unaware of the opportunity.

      • be too late
        When something has already happened or it's too late to take action or participate in an event.

    Examples of Miss the boat

    • I was supposed to meet my friend at the pier at 2 pm, but I got stuck in traffic and missed the boat.

      This idiom means to fail to take advantage of an opportunity or to arrive too late for something. In this example, the speaker missed their friend's departure on a boat because they arrived too late.

    • The company's chance to expand into a new market slipped by them.

      This idiom is similar to "miss the boat" but emphasizes the idea that the opportunity has passed by. Here, the company failed to capitalize on a chance to expand into a new market.

    • The deadline for submitting the proposal passed, and we missed the boat.

      This idiom is used when a deadline is missed. In this example, the speaker and their team failed to submit their proposal before the deadline.

    • I regret not applying for that job last year. I feel like I missed the boat.

      This idiom is used when someone regrets not taking action earlier. In this example, the speaker is expressing regret for not applying for a job last year.

    • The train has already left, and we missed the boat.

      This idiom is used when someone arrives too late for transportation. In this example, the speaker and their companion missed their train and arrived too late to catch it.


    The idiom "miss the boat" is often used to express the idea of missing an opportunity or being too late. This can refer to a specific event or opportunity, or it can be used more generally to describe someone who is not quick enough to take advantage of a situation. It can also be used as a warning or cautionary phrase, advising against waiting too long to act.

    In some cases, "miss the boat" can also have a slightly negative connotation, implying that the person who missed the opportunity was not smart or proactive enough to recognize it. However, it can also simply be used to describe a missed chance without any judgment attached.

    Origin of "Miss the boat"

    The origin of the idiom "miss the boat" is debated, but it is believed to have originated in the early 20th century, possibly from nautical terminology. The term "boat" in this context refers to a specific opportunity or event that is passing by, and missing it means not being able to reach it in time.

    One theory suggests that the idiom may have originated from the concept of passengers missing a boat or ship, and therefore losing their chance to travel or reach a desired destination. Another theory suggests that it may have originated from sailors who missed the boat that would take them back home after a long voyage, thus missing a chance to return to their loved ones.

    Regardless of its exact origin, the idiom "miss the boat" is a common and widely used phrase in modern English, and its meaning is easily understood by native speakers.