missing in action




missing in action (not comparable)

  1. (chiefly military) The designation for a member of an organization (usually military) with whom contact is lost and whose whereabouts are not known, but whose death is not confirmed.
    • 1864, August V[alentine] Kautz, “Return of Men Joined”, in The Company Clerk: [], Philadelphia, Pa.: J. B. Lippincott & Co., OCLC 9951318, paragraph 135, page 77:
      Missing in action are those who have been dropped from the muster-roll as missing in action, and have subsequently joined again. [...] If the missing in action, or desertion, and the return to the company, both occur in the quarter, it is not necessary to note them; in other words, it is not necessary that the soldiers should be dropped and taken up again on the same return.
    • 1918 July 20, “In the Hands of the Huns”, in John C[hristian] Freund, editor, The Music Trades, volume LVI, number 3, New York, N.Y.: The Music Trades Co., ISSN 0027-4488, OCLC 1640823, page 25, columns 1–2:
      Private Louis R. Ziegra of this place [Deep River, Connecticut], formerly a bookkeeper at the Pratt-Reid Player Action Co., who is announced in dispatches from the War Department as missing in action is a German prisoner of war.
    • 1946 January, “Merchant Marine Cadet Corps Record is Finest”, in Pat Martin [et al.], editor, The Log, volume 41, number 1, San Francisco, Calif.: Miller Freeman Publishers, OCLC 654678803, page 49:
      One and one-tenth percent of the academy graduates have been lost or missing in action, prisoners of war or physically disabled as a result of the war. [...] An additional 150 Cadet-Midshipmen, before graduation, lost their lives or are missing in action.
    • 1971 March 23, Joan Vinson, witness, “Statement of Joan Vinson, National Coordinator, National League of Families of American Prisoners and Missing in Southeast Asia”, in American Prisoners of War in Southeast Asia, 1971: Hearings before the Subcommittee on National Security Policy and Scientific Developments of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, House of Representatives, Ninety-second Congress, First Session: [], Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, OCLC 604876976, page 28:
      My husband, Colonel Bobby Vinson, U.S. Air Force, has been missing in action since April 24, 1968. Well over half of the men currently listed by the Departments of State and Defense have been missing or imprisoned for longer than that. Some men have spent twice that long in prison cells in the north, jungles in the south, and pits in Laos. Many more have spent at least that time in the limbo we have termed "missing in action."
    • 1976 April 7, Anita Lauve, witness, “Statement of Ms. Anita Lauve”, in Americans Missing in Southeast Asia: Hearings before the House Select Committee on Missing Persons in Southeast Asia, Ninety-fourth Congress, Second Session: Part 4: [], Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, OCLC 1097531463, page 2:
      Before examining the French experience, it would seem useful to consider some of the major differences and similarities between the French war and the American war in Vietnam. The areas of combat and the type of warfare, the composition of the armed forces, the bargaining power of the adversaries and their dissimilar set of values, were all factors that affected, in one way or another, the numbers of killed in action, missing in action, prisoners of war, died in captivity, and bodies recovered.
    • 2004 September 14, George W[alker] Bush, “Proclamation 7815 of September 14, 2004: National POW/MIA Recognition Day, 2004”, in Code of Federal Regulations: [Title] 3: 2004 Compilation and Parts 100–102: [] The President [...] A Special Edition of the Federal Register, Washington, D.C.: Office of the Federal Register, National Archives and Records Administration; U.S. Government Printing Office, published 1 January 2005, OCLC 1084972496, page 83:
      Our Nation will not forget these heroes, and we will not stop searching for our service members who are missing in action. [...] I call upon the people of the United States to join me in saluting all American POWs and those missing in action who valiantly served our great country.
    • 2010, Ralph Riegel; John O’Mahony, chapter 12, in Missing in Action: The 50 Year Search for Ireland’s Missing Soldier, Cork, Munster: Mercier Press, →ISBN, page 203:
      On 27 April 1981, Private Kevin Joyce (20) was on guard duty at a UN observation post in south Lebanon when he was kidnapped. He was never seen again and is now officially regarded by the Defence Forces as: ‘Missing in Action, Presumed Dead.’
  2. (by extension) Not present when one is expected to be.
    • 2007 December 13, Katie Cincotta, “Is internet banking safe?”, in The Sydney Morning Herald[1], Sydney, N.S.W.: Nine Publishing, ISSN 0312-6315, OCLC 958159901:
      He says that when pressed about why the money was missing in action, NAB [National Australia Bank] failed to provide an explanation and threatened to foreclose on the customer.
    • 2017, Tracy Rees, The Hourglass:
      Finding her toothbrush last night had been the extent of her unpacking and her slippers were still missing in action.
    • 2018 February 24, Paul Rees, “Finn Russell masterminds historic Scotland victory over England”, in Katharine Viner, editor, The Guardian[2], London: Guardian News & Media, ISSN 0261-3077, OCLC 229952407, archived from the original on 22 April 2018:
      John Barclay and [Stuart] McInally controlled the tackle area, denying England quick possession and fracturing the champions’ supply line, Simon Berghan anchored the scrum and behind Finn Russell, missing in action in the opening two rounds, fulfilled his captain Barclay’s prediction on the eve of the game that he would be the man of the match.
    • 2018 August 12, Clare Foran, “Trump Calls Attorney General Jeff Sessions ‘Scared Stiff and Missing in Action’”, in CNN[3], archived from the original on 18 August 2019:
      President Donald Trump called Attorney General Jeff Sessions "scared stiff and Missing in Action" on Saturday in his latest broadside on Twitter against the nation's top law enforcement officer.
    • 2019 July 9, The Canadian Press, “Missing in Action: Promised 200-strong Force yet to be Registered with UN”, in CityNews, Citytv[4], Toronto, Ont., archived from the original on 10 July 2019:
      A Canadian pledge of 200 soldiers for peacekeeping missions is missing in action more than 18 months after it was first promised to the United Nations by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Alternative formsEdit

  • Initialism: MIA

Coordinate termsEdit


Further readingEdit