Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An error or fault resulting from defective judgment, deficient knowledge, or carelessness.
  • n. A misconception or misunderstanding.
  • transitive v. To understand wrongly; misinterpret: mistook my politeness for friendliness.
  • transitive v. To recognize or identify incorrectly: He mistook her for her sister.
  • intransitive v. To make a mistake; err.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An error; a blunder.
  • n. A pitch which was intended to be pitched in a hard to hit location, but instead ends up in an easy to hit place
  • v. To understand wrongly, taking one thing for another, or someone for someone else.
  • v. To make an error, to do something in a wrong way.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To take or choose wrongly.
  • transitive v. To take in a wrong sense; to misunderstand misapprehend, or misconceive
  • transitive v. To substitute in thought or perception.
  • transitive v. To have a wrong idea of in respect of character, qualities, etc.; to misjudge.
  • intransitive v. To err in knowledge, perception, opinion, or judgment; to commit an unintentional error.
  • n. An apprehending wrongly; a misconception; a misunderstanding; a fault in opinion or judgment; an unintentional error of conduct.
  • n. Misconception, error, which when non-negligent may be ground for rescinding a contract, or for refusing to perform it.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • l. To take wrongly; appropriate erroneously or through misapprehension.
  • To take or choose erroneously; choose amiss, as between alternatives; regard (something) as other than it is: as, to mistake one's road or bearings; to mistake a fixed star for a planet.
  • To take in a wrong sense; conceive or understand erroneously; misunderstand; misjudge: as, to mistake one's meaning or intentions.
  • To make a mistake; be in error; be wrong; misapprehend.
  • To take a wrong part; transgress.
  • To err in advice, opinion, or judgment; be under a misapprehension or misconception; be unintentionally in error.
  • n. An error in action, opinion, or judgment; especially, misconception, misapprehension, or misunderstanding; an erroneous view, act, or omission, arising from ignorance, confusion, misplaced confidence, etc.; a slip; a fault; an error; a blunder.
  • n. In law, an erroneous mental conception that influences the will and leads to action. Pomeroy.
  • n. Synonyms Error, Bull, etc. See blunder.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. an understanding of something that is not correct
  • n. a wrong action attributable to bad judgment or ignorance or inattention
  • n. part of a statement that is not correct
  • v. identify incorrectly
  • v. to make a mistake or be incorrect

Etymologies

From Middle English mistaken, to misunderstand, from Old Norse mistaka, to take in error : mis-, wrongly; + taka, to take.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Middle English, from Old Norse mistaka ("to take in error, to miscarry") (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • With regard to the _designed mistake_, my defence is that no mistake was made by me either _designed_ or _not designed_.

    A Series of Letters in Defence of Divine Revelation

  • In Gibbon v Mitchell (1990) 1 WLR 1304, Millett J reviewed many of the older authorities on mistake and held that for a person to set aside a voluntary transaction (such as the creation of a settlement) on the basis of ­mistake, that mistake had to refer to the effect of the transaction in question rather than its consequences.

    The Lawyer - Latest News

  • Their main mistake is to expect the people around them not just to like them, but to be like them, to display the same easy American manners, the same loving indulgence, despite the aching resentments of the war, the grinding poverty of life in Europe, and the inequalities in their situations as hosts and guests.

    On William Maxwell « Tales from the Reading Room

  • So to patronize me for my use of the term mistake is a mistake, also.

    Propeller Most Popular Stories

  • When he wound down a bit I said "the mistake is yours, not his".

    A Good Gun Salesman is Hard To Find

  • Bernard Duroc-Danner , the company's chief executive, said there is "absolutely" no risk of a U.S. government investigation or of any tax penalties or fines related to what he characterized as a mistake in calculating the tax rates on dividends moved from one subsidiary to another.

    Weatherford Discloses Tax-Accounting Errors

  • But a mistake is a mistake, whatever direction it's pointed in.

    Afterword: Secularism, Cosmopolitanism, and Romanticism

  • As I said in previous posts, a mistake is an error in judgement due to poor reasoning.

    Archive 2007-08-01

  • Whether or not invading Iraq was a mistake is an entirely separate question from what to do now.

    Matthew Yglesias » Age and the War

  • He says because of scandals like the Bernie Madoff case, securities firms are under so much scrutiny, they can't afford to let what he calls a mistake like Halloran's go unpunished -- Wolf.

    CNN Transcript Mar 4, 2009

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