Missed or lost? disinterested or uninterested?...

Could anyone give some more examples to make me feeling the difference between:

  1. missed and lost
    For example, opportunities are [ lost or missed ]?

  2. disinterested and uninterested
    For example, If I read a discussion (with interest), but don’t take part in it (not interested to take one of the sides in the debate), I am [ ? ]

  3. replace and substitute

He was [ ? ] by a new Deputy Manager.

Thank you in advance. And sorry, if my example sentences are too artificial.

Hi Tamara

1. missed and lost
Why don’t you write some sentences (using the words “missed” and “lost”) that you think would be correct and post them for comment?

Generally speaking, I think it would be more common to hear “lost” used as an adjective than “missed” (but that doesn’t mean that “missed” isn’t also used as an adjective). For now, here are some of the various meanings — “miss” as a verb and “lost” as an adjective (for the above reason):


verb tr.

  1. To fail to hit, reach, catch, meet, or otherwise make contact with.
  2. To fail to perceive, understand, or experience: completely missed the point of the film.
  3. To fail to accomplish, achieve, or attain (a goal).
  4. To fail to attend or perform: never missed a day of work.
  • a. To leave out; omit.
  • b. To let go by; let slip: miss a chance.
  1. To escape or avoid: narrowly missed crashing into the tree.
  2. To feel the lack or loss of: Do you miss your family?


  1. To fail to hit or otherwise make contact with something: fired the final shot and missed again.
  • a. To be unsuccessful; fail.
  • b. To misfire, as an internal-combustion engine.

The word lost also has a number of usages:

  1. Unable to find one’s way: a lost child.
  • a. No longer in the possession, care, or control of someone or something: a lost pen.
  • b. No longer in existence; vanished or spent: lost youth.
  • c. No longer known or practiced: a lost art.
  • d. Beyond reach, communication, or influence: The expedition was lost to the world for two months.
  1. Not used to one’s benefit or advantage: a lost opportunity.
  2. Having not been or unlikely to be won; unsuccessful: a lost battle; a lost cause.
  3. Beyond recovery or redemption; fallen or destroyed: a lost soul.
  • a. Completely involved or absorbed; rapt: lost in thought.
  • b. Bewildered or confused: I’m lost—can you start over?

I think you could say both “a lost opportunity” as well as “a missed opportunity” and the meanings would be basically the same. Unfortunately missed and lost are often not interchangeable at all.

2. disinterested and uninterested
The “traditional” difference is:

  • “disinterested” means “impartial / neutral / unbaised”; or also “indifferent”
  • “uninterested” simply means “not interested”

    The referees in the Worldcup soccer matches must be disinterested.

Your example:
"If I read a discussion (with interest), but don’t take part in it (not interested to take one of the sides in the debate), I am [ ? ] "
Your example wasn’t terribly good in that “not be interested in” really only means “uninterested/not interested”. Also, please note the preposition “in”. You should have written: …“I’m not interested in taking sides”.

This would be a better way so say what I think you were trying to say:
If you don’t take sides in a debate, then you are disinterested.

“Disinterested” is sometimes used interchangeably with “uninterested” nowadays, but I would not recommend doing this.

3. replace and substitute


Hi Ami,

My question was raised by one of the tests from a4esl.org/ (Vocabulary, Medium)

‘He’s never ____ any opportunity in his life.’
missed is correct answer, lost – not

I’ve read your explanation carefully (thank you), but I am still in doubt with the test. I cannot feel the difference in this case…

  1. Initially, I was confused with ‘disinterested contemplation’.
    Now I undestand it (I hope so). Thank you, Ami.

I think, my confusion was because dis is often negative, but with ‘disinterested’ we can express many positive things, such as:
disinterested witness = unprejudiced, objective
disinterested help = unselfish

Thank you very much, Ami… You are really very helpful.

  1. And thanks for the link to your post about ‘replace-substitute’.

‘Substitute’ as ‘temporarily replace’ (a person, not a thing!) is exactly what I need (to learn :slight_smile: )

Thanks a lot.