I'm not quite looking for an antonym of "detect" (e.g., overlook) but more of the inverse action that means "lose signal" or "lose sight of".

  • Elusive perhaps?
    – Joe Dark
    Oct 25, 2014 at 20:32
  • Since you're not failing to detect/overlooking/missing a detectable signal it seems that you're failing to maintain one that has already been detected, which, if "losing" isn't what you're after, might be a result of "ignoring" or "disregarding" it.
    – Papa Poule
    Oct 25, 2014 at 21:10
  • Need more explanation really, but perhaps mislay? Oct 25, 2014 at 21:15
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    Sorry, but can't think of any (much less better) word when talking about that kind of signal. My "ignoring/disregarding" suggestion was based on thinking that you might be talking about other kinds of signals (of the romantic type, for example)! Maybe if you look for other ways to say "losing altitude"/"losing control"/etc. you might hit on something. Losing altitude, for example, means "going/went down" (in the non-"romantic" way!) and you might get to "going dark/went dark" from there, but I really think that "losing it" is going to be hard to beat.
    – Papa Poule
    Oct 25, 2014 at 22:02
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    How about "miss"?
    – JenSCDC
    Oct 25, 2014 at 22:33

6 Answers 6


I believe the word that best fits your description is simply "lose":

11-a. To elude or outdistance: lost their pursuers.

11-b. To be outdistanced by: chased the thieves but lost them.

"We lost the signal.", "I don't want to lose sight of the captain.", "He lost the animal's silhouette on the horizon." are all clear and unambiguous.


I think disregard comes close to the meaning you are looking for : (from TFD)

  • to pay no attention to; leave out of consideration; ignore.

Regarding losing signal ( as per your comment) I think you can use miss:

  • To fail to hit, reach, catch, meet, or otherwise make contact with.

Ngram: lose signal, miss signal/losing signal, missing signal.

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    Disregard doesn’t seem right to me at all. If you say “I disregarded the signal”, it carries a strong connotation that you could have paid attention to it, but did not choose to. This is almost the opposite of what is asked for — trying to keep the signal, but being unable. Miss seems also not quite right, though not so far off: “I missed the signal” suggests in most contexts that you never detected it in the first place. In the right context it can work (“The beeping had been going all night. Suddenly, he missed it.”) but such contexts are fairly narrow.
    – PLL
    Oct 26, 2014 at 0:04
  • Disregard was my first suggestion when OP appeared to be looking for a synonym of 'losing sight of'. OP later specified in a comment he actually was looking for a synonym of 'losing signal' which is, of course, quite different!!
    – user66974
    Oct 26, 2014 at 5:58

Another word for lost (or lose) here is dropped (or drop).

  • The signal was dropped. (It is no longer detectable.)

I doubt it is much better, since it is so similar, but it is an alternative.

  • Not mine to accept, but that sounds to me like too good of an alternative to lose.
    – Papa Poule
    Oct 26, 2014 at 2:32
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    @PapaPoule: It's not very clear to me what the OP wants, or why. If lose isn't good enough then I suspect drop will not be good enough either. On the other hand, maybe the OP is just looking for alternatives to avoid repetition. Who knows? As is not uncommon here, the OP provides almost no context.
    – Drew
    Oct 26, 2014 at 2:35

I didn't quite get your question. Did you ask for

  1. Having detected a signal and then losing it.
  2. Without capability to detect a signal, not due to deliberately ignoring it.


Therefore, I am responding with answers to both cases.

Case 1.

  • Retaining the same capability of detecting the signal, but the signal has faded.
  • The signal has diminished from our radar. It has disappeared.
  • The signal has atrophied.
  • The signal did not fade, but the capability of detection has waned.
  • We lost focus of the signal.
  • With the introduction of stealth weapons, the capability of radar has diminished.
  • Russia is seeking to bolster their declining military capability.
  • Our ability to detect alien warships has atrophied, after the Xvorkian Royal Guards enveloped our planet with a shield.

Case 2.

  • The equipment was oblivious to the signal.
  • We were unaware of the presence of any ghost.
  • We were incognizant of the imminent armada of the Japanese imperial navy upon Pearl Harbor.

umm... how about "undetected" or "undetectable". E.g. when the signal goes out of range it becomes undetectable.

  • The question is asking for a verb. Neither of your suggestions would fit the request.
    – choster
    Oct 26, 2014 at 6:07

overlook, discount, slight, miss, overpass,

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    Welcome to English Language & Usage. Your response, as it currently stands, is not sufficiently detailed to constitute a good answer. Please elaborate. Perhaps you could give some examples as to when it would be appropriate to use each of the synonyms you have proposed. Also consider splitting your answer into multiple answers so that each one can be upvoted or downvoted individually. Oct 26, 2014 at 18:46

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