1

mistake

verb mis·take \ mə-ˈstāk \
Updated on: 19 Nov 2017

Definition of mistake

mistook play \-ˈstu̇k\; mistaken play \-ˈstā-kən\; mistaking
transitive verb
1 : to blunder in the choice of
  • mistook her way in the dark
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
  • 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

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

Recent Examples of mistake from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of mistake

Middle English


2

mistake

noun

Definition of mistake

1 : a wrong judgment : misunderstanding
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.”

Recent Examples of mistake from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of mistake

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 English Language Learners

mistake

verb

Definition of mistake for English Language Learners

  • : to understand (something or someone) incorrectly

  • : to make a wrong judgment about (something)

  • : to identify (someone or something) incorrectly


mistake

noun

Definition of mistake for English Language Learners

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


MISTAKE Defined for Kids

1

mistake

verb mis·take \ mə-ˈstāk \

Definition of mistake for Students

mistook \mə-ˈstu̇k\; mistaken \mə-ˈstā-kən\; mistaking
1 : misunderstand
  • It was easy to mistake her message.
2 : to fail to recognize correctly
  • She mistook me for someone else.

2

mistake

noun

Definition of mistake for Students

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

Law Dictionary

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


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