In old school D&D there is a great deal of missing. A 1st level character of any class battling almost any enemy will land a hit comfortably less than half of the time. It is not unusual indeed for a character to go through 5 or 6 rounds of combat just rolling dice and missing.
Despite what we know about 1 minute combat rounds, and despite the fact that we know that a failure 'to hit' doesn't necessarily mean an actual failure to hit but a failure to score a damaging hit (which is why I once half-jokingly suggested that the 'to hit' roll should be called the 'to attrit' roll instead), in my experience we still at the table tend to imagine in our minds' eyes that when a character 'misses' they have taken a swing at the enemy and physically missed. And that is how we tend to describe events, too: 'You swing at the orc and miss.'
I've sometimes toyed with a minor house rule to try to nudge me away from thinking in those terms: if a character 'misses' by more than 5 then you describe him as having hit but failed to penetrate the enemy's armour or shield. But that still links the dice roll too closely to concrete events in combat, when it is something much more abstract than that; the result is really an aggregate of everything that the PC does in the course of a minute. That could be many 'hits', or none.
How do you describe 'missing' during combat?