mistake

verb
mis·​take | \ mə-ˈstāk How to pronounce mistake (audio) \
mistook\ mə-​ˈstu̇k How to pronounce mistake (audio) \; mistaken\ mə-​ˈstā-​kən How to pronounce mistake (audio) \; mistaking

Definition of mistake

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to blunder in the choice of mistook her way in the dark
2a : 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 The army's leaders mistook the strength of the enemy.
3 : to identify wrongly : confuse with another I mistook him for his brother

intransitive verb

: to be wrong you mistook when you thought I laughed at you— Thomas Hardy

mistake

noun

Definition of mistake (Entry 2 of 2)

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

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Other Words from mistake

Verb

mistakenly adverb
mistaker noun

Choose the Right Synonym for mistake

Noun

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

Examples of mistake in a Sentence

Verb the auctioneer mistook my nod for a bid, and I ended up buying a painting I don't even like you seriously mistake me if you think I scare so easily Noun It would be a mistake to assume that we can rely on their help. There must be some mistake. The manuscript contains numerous spelling mistakes. There's a mistake in the schedule. “When does the movie start?” “At 8:00. No, wait—my mistake—it starts at 8:30.”
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Without that step, Ayoub says, some black widows will mistake the jostling for a squirming insect. Max G. Levy, Wired, 28 June 2021 Nobody should mistake Liz Cheney’s expulsion from the leadership of the Republican Conference in the House of Representatives for a sign that she is headed out of her party, to some unknown, possibly moderate political destination. Nicholas Lemann, The New Yorker, 16 May 2021 No one will mistake these institutions for Harvard or M.I.T. John Dorfman, Forbes, 5 Apr. 2021 Many of these companies mistake current processes and technology as already being powered by automation. Gary Drenik, Forbes, 10 June 2021 How could a veteran cop—who even served as a training officer—mistake a stun gun for a pistol? Anne Quito, Quartz, 16 Apr. 2021 The question of how veteran Minnesota police Officer Kim Potter could mistake her gun for a Taser has dominated discourse about the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright so much that, experts say, the true driver of police violence has gone overlooked. NBC News, 15 Apr. 2021 Wright's brother, Dallas Bryant, told about a hundred people gathered for a candlelight vigil Monday evening that Wright sounded scared during the phone call, and questioned how the officer could mistake a gun for a Taser. Mohamed Ibrahim And Mike Householder, Chron, 13 Apr. 2021 His brother, Dallas Bryant, told about a hundred people gathered for a candlelight vigil Monday evening that Wright sounded scared during the phone call, and questioned how the officer could mistake a gun for a Taser. Mohamed Ibrahim And Mike Householder, chicagotribune.com, 13 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun That would be a big mistake on the part of the Twins. Michael Rand, Star Tribune, 26 July 2021 The selection of Howard was nothing short of genius for the Magic front office because most NBA experts thought the Magic made a huge mistake in not taking Emeka Okafor out of UConn as the top pick. Chris Hays, orlandosentinel.com, 26 July 2021 The toughest part of the race is an upstream gate, where reversing currents can turn a small mistake into a race-ending rollover. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, 25 July 2021 Jordan Chiles’ relentlessly consistent run that carried her to a spot on the team ended with a major mistake on bars and a fall on beam. Time, 25 July 2021 Jordan Chiles’ remarkably consistent run that carried her to a spot on the team ended with a major mistake on bars and a fall on beam. Will Graves, chicagotribune.com, 25 July 2021 Jordan Chiles’ remarkably consistent run that carried her to a spot on the team ended with a major mistake on bars and a fall on beam. BostonGlobe.com, 25 July 2021 And if lawyers can reasonably show that a company made some kind of mistake in protecting its system, victims will have an avenue to sue. Washington Post, 25 July 2021 From February to midway through the qualifier Sunday, Chiles completed 26 consecutive routines without a major mistake. Callie Caplan, Dallas News, 25 July 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'mistake.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of mistake

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Noun

1600, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for mistake

Verb and Noun

Middle English

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Learn More About mistake

Time Traveler for mistake

Time Traveler

The first known use of mistake was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near mistake

mistakable

mistake

mistakingly

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Statistics for mistake

Last Updated

28 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Mistake.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mistake. Accessed 3 Aug. 2021.

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More Definitions for mistake

mistake

verb

English Language Learners Definition of mistake

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to understand (something or someone) incorrectly
: to make a wrong judgment about (something)
: to identify (someone or something) incorrectly

mistake

noun

English Language Learners Definition of mistake (Entry 2 of 2)

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

mistake

verb
mis·​take | \ mə-ˈstāk How to pronounce mistake (audio) \
mistook\ mə-​ˈstu̇k \; mistaken\ mə-​ˈstā-​kən \; mistaking

Kids Definition of mistake

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : misunderstand It was easy to mistake her message.
2 : to fail to recognize correctly She mistook me for someone else.

mistake

noun

Kids Definition of mistake (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a wrong judgment or action She was accused by mistake.
2 : something that is incorrect Correct the mistakes on your paper.

mistake

noun
mis·​take

Legal Definition of mistake

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 : 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

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

More from Merriam-Webster on mistake

Nglish: Translation of mistake for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of mistake for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about mistake

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