I'm writing a marketing copy and encountered the need for an idiom that means "forgetting and thus missing an opportunity or deadline". The expression I'm looking for is informal. The target audience is mainly North Americans.

I found the phrase "miss the boat", but came to the conclusion that it's not very commonly used. I'm looking for something that's at least as common as "drop the ball".

Another reason why I don't feel "miss the boat" is appropriate is that the opportunities I'm talking about here are smaller opportunities — nothing life-changing. Examples include forgetting to follow up with a client or not filing tax on time.

An example sentence would be "Never ___________ or feel overwhelmed again."

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    Missed the boat works well with opportunity; dropped the ball works well with deadline. Both terms are commonly used, in the U.S. anyway. Commented Sep 10, 2016 at 2:51
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    Can you supply a sentence with the word(s) you want left blank.
    – Dan
    Commented Sep 10, 2016 at 7:42

4 Answers 4


"Miss the bus" is very common.

Collins dictionary says it means "to miss an opportunity; be too late".

I think this fits the requirement of OP squarely.

  • Thanks for the answer! If I say "never miss the bus again", is it possible that people take the sentence literally?
    – Erica Xu
    Commented Sep 10, 2016 at 17:09
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    @EricaXu : The idiom is very popular and a commonplace thing. So, there is no question of the "bus" being taken literally. Moreover, if the context is there, then there is absolutely, I repeat absolutely, no chance of the "bus" being taken literally. Hope this clears. Commented Sep 10, 2016 at 17:58

What about "pull a cootsie"?

  • make an error; miss an opportunity - UD

"I know you’re nervous, but try not to pull a cootsie."


Two different things are being asked:

To forget something - Slipped my mind, perhaps.

I was supposed to meet X for lunch, but work was so busy this morning it slipped my mind.

To miss an opportunity - missed my chance, perhaps.

I was hoping to go to Paris, but all the tickets have been taken and I've missed my chance.


Never default or feel overwhelmed again.


default verb

: to fail to do something that legally must be done; especially : to fail to make the payments you must make on a loan, mortgage, etc.

If the borrower defaults, the bank can take the house.

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