What does the idiom "slip one's mind" mean?

The expression slip one's mind is one of the idioms that often finds a place in our literature and enriches our language. However, its meaning is not fully understood, so it is sometimes used in the wrong situations. Please review the explanation carefully for the correct use of the slip one's mind idiom.

Meaning of "slip one's mind"


The idiom 'slip one's mind' is defined as an unintentional forgetting or failing to think of something. It is used when someone has forgotten an important fact, task, or person. It implies that the person is not purposefully trying to forget, but rather that it has just been forgotten due to a lapse of memory.


The phrase 'slip one's mind' is first recorded in the 16th century. It is an idiom derived from the Latin phrase oblivisci, which roughly translates to 'forget'. This phrase is likely derived from the Proto-Indo-European root *wleip, which means 'to glide'. This is likely where the notion of something slipping away comes from.


The idiom 'slip one's mind' can be used in both formal and informal conversations. It is mostly used to inform someone that something was forgotten or neglected. It is used in both past and present tense, though it does not have an explicit future tense form. For example, someone might say, ā€œIā€™m sorry, I forgot to bring the food; it slipped my mind.ā€ In this sentence, the idiom is being used to apologize for forgetting to bring food.

Example Sentences

  • I'm so sorry, I totally forgot. It slipped my mind.
  • I'm afraid I neglected to call her, it slipped my mind.
  • The wedding anniversary had slipped her mind until her husband reminded her.
  • I was so busy that I completely forgot about it; I'm afraid it slipped my mind.

The meanings of the words in the "slip one's mind" idiom

The universal role of idioms

"Kill two birds with one stone" is an English idiom that means to accomplish two things with a single action. In French, the similar idiom is "Faire d'une pierre deux coups," which translates to "To kill two birds with one stone." This idiom highlights the efficiency of completing two tasks with one action.


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