In the movie Listen up, Philip, the narrator uses this sentence at one point:

When Philip departed in late August for the college, Ike was remiss to find himself backsliding into a familiar pattern of boredom and tedium.

Is remiss correctly used in the sentence? What does it mean here?

  • 1
    Is remiss correctly used in the sentence? You have given no source and do not say when the example was written. That said, I don't think that it is used correctly. What does it mean here? It means that the writer has used the wrong word. You can say It was remiss of Mike...
    – Greybeard
    Oct 22, 2020 at 11:00
  • Could it be reminisce...?
    – Ram Pillai
    Oct 23, 2020 at 5:28

1 Answer 1


I have looked at a few definitions of remiss on line and was actually quite surprised to find that the Oxford Dictionary entry does contain examples of exactly this usage such as:

In this department it would be remiss to single out anyone, but one recalls one crunching tackle by Richard Berney on Cantan, when the full back came into the line with a touch down at his mercy.


And really, we don't know what happened, and I'd be remiss to even speculate about what did happen

I say I was surprised becasue I have always associated remiss with the words of and in giving (using other examples from the same entry):

It would be very remiss of me not to pass on that information


The council itself was remiss in not having had the building listed.

and neither of these has the form used in the quote. However it seems that it is a well-accepted usage. It is always possible, of course, that it is more common in US English than British which is my linguistic environment.

  • So basically the meaning is that Ike was negligent and found himself backsliding into a familiar pattern of tedium and boredom?
    – user403195
    Oct 22, 2020 at 13:34
  • 'Ike was remiss to find himself backsliding into ...' doesn't work. 'Ike was remiss, finding himself backsliding into ...' or 'Ike was remiss to give up on his previous pattern of working (ie remiss to do something inappropriate)'. Oct 22, 2020 at 14:06

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