View synonyms for mistake


[ mi-steyk ]


  1. an error in action, calculation, opinion, or judgment caused by poor reasoning, carelessness, insufficient knowledge, etc.

    Synonyms: oversight, fault, erratum, inaccuracy

  2. a misunderstanding or misconception.

    Antonyms: understanding

verb (used with object)

, mis·took [mi-, stook], mis·tak·en [mi-, stey, -k, uh, n], mis·tak·ing.
  1. to regard or identify wrongly as something or someone else:

    I mistook him for the mayor.

  2. to understand, interpret, or evaluate wrongly; misunderstand; misinterpret.

    Synonyms: err, misjudge, misconceive

verb (used without object)

, mis·took [mi-, stook], mis·tak·en [mi-, stey, -k, uh, n], mis·tak·ing.
  1. to be in error.


/ mɪˈsteɪk /


  1. an error or blunder in action, opinion, or judgment
  2. a misconception or misunderstanding


  1. tr to misunderstand; misinterpret

    she mistook his meaning

  2. trfoll byfor to take (for), interpret (as), or confuse (with)

    she mistook his direct manner for honesty

  3. tr to choose badly or incorrectly

    he mistook his path

  4. intr to make a mistake in action, opinion, judgment, etc

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Confusables Note

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Derived Forms

  • misˈtaker, noun

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Other Words From

  • mis·taker noun
  • mis·taking·ly adverb
  • unmis·taking adjective
  • unmis·taking·ly adverb

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Word History and Origins

Origin of mistake1

First recorded in 1300–30; Middle English mistaken (verb), from Old Norse mistaka “to take in error.” mis- 1, take

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Word History and Origins

Origin of mistake1

C13 (meaning: to do wrong, err): from Old Norse mistaka to take erroneously

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Idioms and Phrases

  1. and no mistake, for certain; surely:

    He's an honorable person, and no mistake.

More idioms and phrases containing mistake

In addition to the idiom beginning with mistake , also see by mistake ; make no mistake .

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Synonym Study

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.

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Example Sentences

You’ve got to have the ability to block out past mistakes, or even the future.

What’s more, not every speaker may be fluent, meaning that a child hearing more languages might also hear mistakes.

She tried following the instructions but made so many mistakes that “it made my whole screen just look red,” she said.

UNC-Miami postponed after two Tar Heels are shown celebrating Duke win without masks“Every little mistake we made, they just took advantage of it,” Wiggins said, referencing Ohio State’s 21 points off turnovers.

On Sunday, she updated her accounts to show that she had started the process of trying to remove what is presumably one of the worst mistakes of her life.

This time it would be the biggest mistake for the Western press to repeat that—absolutely the biggest mistake.

Scalise has called the talk, which he delivered in a hotel outside New Orleans, “a mistake I regret.”

Scalise offered his contrition that he had made a mistake and apologized for appearing before a group some 12 years ago.

Make no mistake: The technology exists—has existed for a long while—to stop this from happening.

I made the mistake of promising one group of guys they could ask me anything if they answered my questions.

Instead of giving you a chance to say, "He has made a mistake," he forced you to say, "He has shown how to get out of a mistake."

My mother now tells me that she knew of this mistake, an error of the New York paper in copying the item from a Southern journal.

I must make no mistake, and blunder into a national type of features, all wrong; if I make your mask, it must do us credit.

They never knew how it got there, but thinking it was by mistake, Glavis took it into the house and spread it out.

"Yes, there has been a mistake," she said peevishly, turning in with him to a small room they used as a breakfast-room.


Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

Idioms from The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.




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