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90s Slang You Should Know


[mi-steyk] /mɪˈsteɪk/
an error in action, calculation, opinion, or judgment caused by poor reasoning, carelessness, insufficient knowledge, etc.
a misunderstanding or misconception.
verb (used with object), mistook, mistaken, mistaking.
to regard or identify wrongly as something or someone else:
I mistook him for the mayor.
to understand, interpret, or evaluate wrongly; misunderstand; misinterpret.
verb (used without object), mistook, mistaken, mistaking.
to be in error.
and no mistake, for certain; surely:
He's an honorable person, and no mistake.
Origin of mistake
1300-30; Middle English mistaken (v.) < Old Norse mistaka to take in error. See mis-1, take
Related forms
mistaker, noun
mistakingly, adverb
unmistaking, adjective
unmistakingly, adverb
Can be confused
misnomer, mistake (see confusables note at misnomer)
1. inaccuracy, erratum, fault, oversight. Mistake, blunder, error, slip refer to deviations from right, accuracy, correctness, or truth. A mistake, grave or trivial, is caused by bad judgment or a disregard of rule or principle: It was a mistake to argue. A blunder is a careless, stupid, or gross mistake in action or speech, suggesting awkwardness, heedlessness, or ignorance: Through his blunder the message was lost. An error (often interchanged with mistake ) is an unintentional wandering or deviation from accuracy, or right conduct: an error in addition. A slip is usually a minor mistake made through haste or carelessness: a slip of the tongue. 4. misconceive, misjudge, err.
2. understanding.
Confusables note
See misnomer. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for mistake
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • "I trust that there can be no mistake upon that point, at least," replied he.

  • What mistake could he have made in regard to his instructions?

    Up the River Oliver Optic
  • I was sure there must be some mistake on your part, that you had confounded him with some other person.

  • All in good time: but I am sorry for this mistake about the lady.

    Deerbrook Harriet Martineau
  • “But it is a mistake,” cried Don Cornelio, rubbing the cold sweat from his forehead.

    The Tiger Hunter Mayne Reid
British Dictionary definitions for mistake


an error or blunder in action, opinion, or judgment
a misconception or misunderstanding
verb -takes, -taking, -took, -taken
(transitive) to misunderstand; misinterpret: she mistook his meaning
(transitive) foll by for. to take (for), interpret (as), or confuse (with): she mistook his direct manner for honesty
(transitive) to choose badly or incorrectly: he mistook his path
(intransitive) to make a mistake in action, opinion, judgment, etc
Derived Forms
mistaker, noun
Word Origin
C13 (meaning: to do wrong, err): from Old Norse mistaka to take erroneously
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for mistake

early 14c., "to commit an offense;" late 14c., "to misunderstand, misinterpret," from a Scandinavian source (cf. Old Norse mistaka "take in error, miscarry"), from mis- "wrongly" (see mis- (1)) + taka "take" (see take (v.)). Related: Mistook; mistaking.


1630s, from mistake (v.). Meaning "unintended pregnancy" is from 1957.


1630s, from mistake (v.). Meaning "unintended pregnancy" is from 1957.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with mistake


In addition to the idiom beginning with
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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