Is there any verb which means that I lost something but actually you're sure that it isn't lost forever? So I don't know where is it now but if I was looking for it, I would find it. Or, I put it somewhere but now I don't remember where and I can't find it.


I _____ my car keys in the hurry.

I _____ your book but I'll give it back as soon as I find it.

Or should I just simply use "lost"?

(In my mind "lost" is permanent, and I'm looking for a word which means the same but only temporarily.)


1 Answer 1


Consider either misplace or mislay; both have similar meanings:


to put (something) in the wrong place; to lose (something) for a short time by forgetting where you put it


to lose (something) for a short time by forgetting where you put it

Misplace can also mean to give something undeserved, such as "misplaced trust"

Google indicates that misplace is much more common than mislay, if word familiarity is something that you want to factor into your word choice.

  • 7
    I think there's a slight US (misplace) / UK (mislay) trend.
    – Chris H
    Jul 18, 2016 at 6:51
  • Note that to my (admittedly non-native) ear, "I misplaced your book" sounds like an exact synonym "I lost it" - just phrased more euphemistic. To me it doesn't have the connotation of "temporary" that you are looking for, it simply sounds like you want to say you lost it without using the word "lost".
    – CompuChip
    Jul 18, 2016 at 8:24
  • 8
    To this UK ear, if someone tells me they have misplaced my book, it feels like they took no care of it and I can forget ever getting my book back. I'm likely to feel a bit miffed. If someone tells me they have mislaid my book, I expect to get its back as soon as they discover that their jacket fell on top of it.
    – Spagirl
    Jul 18, 2016 at 9:24
  • 9
    To my US ear, if someone says they misplaced something of theirs, that means they lost it temporarily, or are pretty sure they can find it after some searching. However, like others say, if they tell me that they misplaced a thing of mine, that's a euphemism for having lost it, attempting to convey that it will surely be found and all will be set right.
    – user1359
    Jul 18, 2016 at 13:42
  • In Australia "misplace" is used. I've never heard "mislay" used in the present tense, and rarely heard it used in the past tense "mislaid"
    – Bohemian
    Jul 18, 2016 at 16:47

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