Don’t cry over spilled milk, it is just a minor mishap — a misfortune. If the surgeon operates on the wrong leg when you go in for knee surgery? Now, that’s a mishap to get upset about.

You might assume that hap is short for happening, but it is actually an Old Norse word for "luck." So with mis ("bad") in front of it, it literally means “bad luck.” Mishaps can be accidents of great consequence or minimal consequence. People often say that an event went off “without a mishap,” meaning that it went smoothly. Hopefully this will be the case if you ever get knee surgery.

Definitions of mishap

n an unpredictable outcome that is unfortunate

bad luck, mischance
Type of:
chance, fortune, hazard, luck
an unknown and unpredictable phenomenon that causes an event to result one way rather than another

n an instance of misfortune

misadventure, mischance
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an unfortunate mishap; especially one causing damage or injury
near miss
an accidental collision that is narrowly avoided
an accident in which a train runs off its track
ground loop
a sharp uncontrollable turn made by an airplane while moving along the ground
loss of air pressure in a tire when a hole is made by some sharp object
slip, trip
an accidental misstep threatening (or causing) a fall
(computer science) an event that causes a computer system to become inoperative
fall, spill, tumble
a sudden drop from an upright position
an accident resulting from violent impact of a moving object
crash, wreck
a serious accident (usually involving one or more vehicles)
accidental injury, injury
an accident that results in physical damage or hurt
shipwreck, wreck
an accident that destroys a ship at sea
casualty, fatal accident
an accident that causes someone to die
head crash
(computer science) a crash of a read/write head in a hard disk drive (usually caused by contact of the head with the surface of the magnetic disk)
Type of:
bad luck, misfortune
unnecessary and unforeseen trouble resulting from an unfortunate event

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