The English expression "to miss out" indicates not being able to experience something that others are enjoying.

For example:

"I missed out on the Christmas party because I was sick."
"If you've never tried skydiving, you are really missing out!"
"If you became a vegetarian, you'd miss out on eating tarantulas and fermented fish!"

How would you translate this in Esperanto?

3 Answers 3


I can't think of a one-size-fits-all expression.

Consider ne povis ĝui ("could not enjoy"), ne trovis okazon ("didn't get an opportunity [to]"), malesti, foresti ("to be absent/away [from]"), ankoraŭ ne vivi ("to not yet live"), seni, malhavi ("to not have"), sin mankigi je, sin senigi je ("to deprive oneself of").

  • Mi malestis la Kristnaskan feston pro malsano.

  • Se vi neniam plonĝis el aviadilo [paraŝutis], vi ankoraŭ ne vivas!

  • Se vi iĝus vegetarano, vi senigus vin je manĝado de tarantuloj kaj fermentintaj fiŝoj!

You can also say maltrafi in the specific sense of "aimed at, but did not hit." PIV seems to frown on metaphorical uses, but malatingi ("failed to attain") is an alternative.

  • I'm surprised by your use of malesti here. It's kind of a strange word - not transparent in meaning and not common enough for most speakers to learn the specialized meaning. In any event, I believe you are using it incorrectly in your example. It should be Mi malestis en la Kristnaska festo pro malsano - and even that means simply that he/she was not there - not that he/she missed out on anything. Jan 18, 2017 at 13:03
  • Well, malesti is (laŭ PIV) a Zamenhofian word for "to be absent" (and it sounds much stronger than ne esti —which I think is why I chose it). Granted, foresti ("to be away") is much more common. The accusative is the result of omitting the preposition je. I looked in the Tekstaro, and found an example from Eugène Lanti: "li malestu la partian kunvenon" so if it is an error I'm in famous company. Jan 18, 2017 at 14:20
  • I saw that same example in the Tekstaro and followed the general principle that a single example in the Tekstaro is not enough to justify an expression when no other evidence supports it. The essay that you're quoting from contains other pseudo-Esperanto words like "aliu" (unless that's a typo). We would not say in the opposite case "Li estu la partian kunvenon." Jan 18, 2017 at 14:40
  • Je can be replaced by the accusative (Rule 14) and there is no real potential for confusion here, any more than in ĉeesti la kunvenon or eniri la unuan fojon. I looked in the Tekstaro merely out of curiosity; I have no doubt that it is correct. Jan 18, 2017 at 15:41
  • This is an important topic to get correct. Jan 18, 2017 at 17:45

My approach here would be the same as for many other expressions I was having trouble with.

  1. Reflect on ways to say it in Esperanto.
  2. Reflect on different ways to say it in English.
  3. Check a few good bilingual dictionaries (variation of #1)
  4. Check an English thesaurus, then bilingual dictionaries (variation of #2)

My initial impulse is to say simply maltrafi. There are some contexts where this doesn't seem to make as much sense, but in other contexts it doesn't make much difference.

Dictionary.com defines "to miss out on something" as:

  • To fail to see, enjoy, etc, something

Comparing this to the many definitions of "to miss" at the site, the difference is not obvious. One can miss a chance - and usually things you're trying not to miss are things you don't want to miss out on.

The bilingual dictionaries I checked (Benson and Wells) did not contain an entry for "miss out." The thesauruses weren't much help either.

At this point, it looks like there are two main choices.

  1. Use maltrafi. There are many examples where this seems to mean more or less "to miss out" - here's one:

    • Kelkaj plenkreskuloj en la vico instigis nin ne maltrafi la okazon.
  2. Use an expression based on the English defintion

    • I didn't want to miss out on that.
    • Mi nepre volis ĝui tion.

It all depends, of course, on what you want to say - and how you decide to express your thoughts in Esperanto (rather than just translating words from English).

  • She missed the congress = Ŝi maltrafis la kongreson.
  • She missed out on the congress = Ŝi maltrafis la ĝuon de la kongreso.

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