See more synonyms for mistaken on Thesaurus.com
  1. wrongly conceived, held, or done: a mistaken antagonism.
  2. erroneous; incorrect; wrong: a mistaken answer.
  3. having made a mistake; being in error.

Origin of mistaken

1590–1600; past participle of mistake; see -en3
Related formsmis·tak·en·ly, adverbmis·tak·en·ness, nounun·mis·tak·en, adjective

Synonyms for mistaken

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1. inaccurate, misconceived.


  1. an error in action, calculation, opinion, or judgment caused by poor reasoning, carelessness, insufficient knowledge, etc.
  2. a misunderstanding or misconception.
verb (used with object), mis·took, mis·tak·en, 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.
verb (used without object), mis·took, mis·tak·en, mis·tak·ing.
  1. to be in error.
  1. 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 formsmis·tak·er, nounmis·tak·ing·ly, adverbun·mis·tak·ing, adjectiveun·mis·tak·ing·ly, adverb
Can be confusedmisnomer mistake (see confusables note at misnomer)

Synonyms for mistake

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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.

Antonyms for mistake

Confusables note

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for mistaken

Contemporary Examples of mistaken

Historical Examples of mistaken

  • But if you think I was consistently mercenary you are mistaken.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • I'm less likely to be mistaken than you, my dear, though he was your father.

  • I may have been mistaken with regard to the cause of my persecution by the Wilsons, but I think not.

    Biography of a Slave

    Charles Thompson

  • Nor was she mistaken: many a time had her father said so to himself.

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

  • If you think they were embarrassed to the degree that they could not eat, you are mistaken.

British Dictionary definitions for mistaken


  1. (usually predicative) wrong in opinion, judgment, etcshe is mistaken
  2. arising from error in judgment, opinion, etca mistaken viewpoint
Derived Formsmistakenly, adverbmistakenness, noun


  1. an error or blunder in action, opinion, or judgment
  2. a misconception or misunderstanding
verb -takes, -taking, -took or -taken
  1. (tr) to misunderstand; misinterpretshe mistook his meaning
  2. (tr foll by for) to take (for), interpret (as), or confuse (with)she mistook his direct manner for honesty
  3. (tr) to choose badly or incorrectlyhe mistook his path
  4. (intr) to make a mistake in action, opinion, judgment, etc
Derived Formsmistaker, noun

Word Origin for mistake

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

Word Origin and History for mistaken

c.1600, "under misapprehension," past participle adjective from mistake (v.). Related: Mistakenly. Mistaken identity attested from 1865.



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with mistaken


In addition to the idiom beginning with mistake

  • mistake for

also see:

  • by mistake
  • make no mistake
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.