Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary
1

mistake

play
verb mis·take \mə-ˈstāk\

Simple Definition of mistake

  • : to understand (something or someone) incorrectly

  • : to make a wrong judgment about (something)

  • : to identify (someone or something) incorrectly

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of mistake

mistook

play \-ˈstu̇k\

mistaken

play \-ˈstā-kən\

mistaking

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to blunder in the choice of <mistook her way in the dark>

  3. 2 a :  to misunderstand the meaning or intention of :  misinterpret <don't mistake me, I mean exactly what I said> b :  to make a wrong judgment of the character or ability of

  4. 3 :  to identify wrongly :  confuse with another <I mistook him for his brother>

  5. intransitive verb
  6. :  to be wrong <you mistook when you thought I laughed at you — Thomas Hardy>

mistakenly

adverb

mistaker

noun

Examples of mistake in a sentence

  1. <the auctioneer mistook my nod for a bid, and I ended up buying a painting I don't even like>

  2. <you seriously mistake me if you think I scare so easily>



Origin and Etymology of mistake

Middle English


First Known Use: 14th century


2

mistake

noun mis·take

Simple Definition of mistake

  • : something that is not correct : a wrong action, statement, or judgment

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of mistake

  1. 1 :  a wrong judgment :  misunderstanding

  2. 2 :  a wrong action or statement proceeding from faulty judgment, inadequate knowledge, or inattention

Examples of mistake in a sentence

  1. It would be a mistake to assume that we can rely on their help.

  2. There must be some mistake.

  3. The manuscript contains numerous spelling mistakes.

  4. There's a mistake in the schedule.

  5. When does the movie start? At 8:00. No, wait—my mistake—it starts at 8:30.



1600

First Known Use of mistake

1600

Synonym Discussion of mistake

error, mistake, blunder, slip, lapse mean a departure from what is true, right, or proper. error suggests the existence of a standard or guide and a straying from the right course through failure to make effective use of this <procedural errors>. mistake implies misconception or inadvertence and usually expresses less criticism than error <dialed the wrong number by mistake>. blunder regularly imputes stupidity or ignorance as a cause and connotes some degree of blame <diplomatic blunders>. slip stresses inadvertence or accident and applies especially to trivial but embarrassing mistakes <a slip of the tongue>. lapse stresses forgetfulness, weakness, or inattention as a cause <a lapse in judgment>.


MISTAKE Defined for Kids

1

mistake

play
verb mis·take \mə-ˈstāk\

Definition of mistake for Students

mistook

\mə-ˈstu̇k\

mistaken

\mə-ˈstā-kən\

mistaking

  1. 1 :  misunderstand <It was easy to mistake her message.>

  2. 2 :  to fail to recognize correctly <She mistook me for someone else.>




2

mistake

play
noun mis·take

Definition of mistake for Students

  1. 1 :  a wrong judgment or action <She was accused by mistake.>

  2. 2 :  something that is incorrect <Correct the mistakes on your paper.>




Law Dictionary

mistake

noun mis·take

Legal Definition of mistake

  1. 1 :  an unintentional error especially in legal procedure or form that does not indicate bad faith and that commonly warrants excuse or relief by the court <the court's power to revise a judgment because of fraud, mistake, or irregularity> <a clerical mistake>

  2. 2 :  an erroneous belief: as a :  a state of mind that is not in accordance with the facts existing at the time a contract is made and that may be a ground for the rescission or reformation of the contract b :  a misconception at the time of an offense alleged by a defendant mistake of fact 1 :  a mistake regarding a fact or facts especially that significantly affects the performance of a contract 2 :  a criminal defense that attempts to eliminate culpability on the ground that the defendant operated from an unintentional misunderstanding of fact rather than from a criminal purpose mistake of law :  a mistake involving the misunderstanding or incorrect application of law in regard to an act, contract, transaction, determination, or state of affairs; also :  a criminal defense alleging such a mistake Editor's note: In both contract and criminal law a mistake of law is a weaker ground for relief or acquittal than a mistake of fact. mutual mistake :  a mistake common to both parties to a contract who were in agreement about the purpose or terms of the contract <reformed the contract because of a mutual mistake> unilateral mistake :  a mistake on the part of one party to a contract that is usually not a ground for rescission or reformation unless one party stands to profit or benefit improperly from the mistake





Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up mistake? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

of, relating to, or near a shore

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

lavender-fields-in-france

Which of these is a synonym of caesura?

megillah rebellion interruption torrent
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ