Definition of mistake noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//mɪˈsteɪk//
    ; NAmE NAmE//mɪˈsteɪk//
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  1. 1  an action or an opinion that is not correct, or that produces a result that you did not want It's easy to make a mistake. This letter is addressed to someone else—there must be some mistake. It would be a mistake to ignore his opinion. Don't worry, we all make mistakes. You must try to learn from your mistakes. Leaving school so young was the biggest mistake of my life. I made the mistake of giving him my address. It was a big mistake on my part to have trusted her. a great/serious/terrible mistake It’s a common mistake(= one that a lot of people make).
  2. 2  a word, figure, etc. that is not said or written down correctly synonym error It's a common mistake among learners of English. The waiter made a mistake (in) adding up the bill. Her essay is full of spelling mistakes. Synonymsmistakeerror inaccuracy slip howler misprintThese are all words for a word, figure or fact that is not said, written down or typed correctly.mistake a word or figure that is not said or written down correctly:It’s a common mistake among learners of English. spelling mistakeserror (rather formal) a word, figure, etc. that is not said or written down correctly:There are too many errors in your work. Error is a more formal way of saying mistake.inaccuracy (rather formal) a piece of information that is not exactly correct:The article is full of inaccuracies.slip a small mistake, usually made by being careless or not paying attentionhowler (informal, especially British English) a stupid mistake, especially in what somebody says or writes:The report is full of howlers. A howler is usually an embarrassing mistake which shows that the person who made it does not know something that they really should know. misprint a small mistake in a printed textPatterns a(n) mistake/​error/​inaccuracy/​slip/​howler/​misprint in something to make a(n) mistake/​error/​slip/​howler to contain/​be full of mistakes/​errors/​inaccuracies/​howlers/​misprints
  3. Word Originlate Middle English (as a verb): from Old Norse mistaka ‘take in error’, probably influenced in sense by Old French mesprendre.Extra examples All those problems because of one little mistake! Don’t make the same mistake as I did. Don’t worry about it—it’s an easy mistake to make! I kept telling myself that it was all a terrible mistake. I made a mistake about her. I picked up the wrong bag by mistake. It is a great mistake to assume that your children will agree with you. It isn’t possible to eliminate all mistakes. Mistakes are bound to happen sometimes. Ordinary people are paying for the government’s mistakes. The company has learned from its past mistakes. The teacher kindly pointed out the mistake. They all commit similar mistakes. This dress was an expensive mistake. Too late, she realized her mistake. We can help you avoid costly mistakes. Don’t worry, we all make mistakes. Her essay is full of spelling mistakes. It’s a common mistake among learners of English. It’s easy to make a mistake. The waiter made a mistake in adding up the bill. You must try to learn from your mistakes.Idioms (old-fashioned, especially British English) used to show that you are sure about the truth of what you have just said This is a strange business and no mistake.  by accident; without intending to I took your bag instead of mine by mistake.
    in mistake for something
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    thinking that something is something else Children may eat pills in mistake for sweets.
    make no mistake (about something)
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    used to emphasize what you are saying, especially when you want to warn somebody about something Make no mistake (about it), this is one crisis that won’t just go away.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: mistake

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