• synonyms


[mi-stoo k]
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  1. simple past tense of mistake.
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  1. an error in action, calculation, opinion, or judgment caused by poor reasoning, carelessness, insufficient knowledge, etc.
  2. a misunderstanding or misconception.
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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.
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verb (used without object), mis·took, mis·tak·en, mis·tak·ing.
  1. to be in error.
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  1. and no mistake, for certain; surely: He's an honorable person, and no mistake.
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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)


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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.


Confusables note

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

Related Words


Examples from the Web for mistook

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British Dictionary definitions for mistook


  1. the past tense of mistake
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  1. an error or blunder in action, opinion, or judgment
  2. a misconception or misunderstanding
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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
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Derived Formsmistaker, 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

Word Origin and History for mistook



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.

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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with mistook


In addition to the idiom beginning with mistake

  • mistake for

also see:

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