I googled this, and I am getting ambiguous results. In books, even in legal documents, I can find examples of "misassess", "miss assess" and "miss-assess". What is the correct way to spell this verb?


  • Their needs had been massively miss assessed
    (link) Non-humans in Social Science: Ontologies, Theories and Case Studies
  • Thomas Dimitroff talked about "miss assessed moves" and there un-intended consequences. Tweeted by D. Orlando Ledbetter, three-time APSE award-winning sportswriter.
  • There are some miss-assessed buildings in damage assessment by local government; Engineering Geology and the Environment

  • Williamson’s example acquires reason to think he has misassessed what his evidence is, whereas Andy only acquires reason to think she has misassessed what her evidence supports.
    Evidence and Fallibility (pdf) by Joshua DiPaolo

None of these forms can I find in a dictionary.


1 Answer 1


This is a combination of the verb assess and the prefix mis-, which when attached to verbs expresses the sense of "badly" (Collins).

The prefix is mis-, not miss, so it's incorrect to use two S's after the I or to leave a space before the A.

This leaves the following two options: misassess and mis-assess. Most words starting with mis- aren't written with a hyphen, but it is possible to use a hyphen as a stylistic choice to clarify the structure of a word that is newly formed or that would look strange without a hyphen. The Oxford English Dictionary says

In Old English and Middle English manuscripts the compounds of mis- (as of other prefixes) are frequently written as two words; use of a hyphen is sometimes found in Middle English. From the 16th cent. onwards the compounds are regularly printed as one word, with or without the hyphen, which becomes, however, less and less frequent, and is now employed chiefly in new or rarely used formations (mainly those in which s- begins the second element).

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