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



BrE BrE//ˈerə(r)//
; NAmE NAmE//ˈerər//
[countable, uncountable]
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  • a mistake, especially one that causes problems or affects the result of something No payments were made last week because of a computer error. error in something There are too many errors in your work. error in doing something I think you have made an error in calculating the total. A simple error of judgement meant that there was not enough food to go around. a grave error (= a very serious mistake) a glaring error (= a mistake that is very obvious) The delay was due to human error (= a mistake made by a person rather than by a machine). The computer system was switched off in error (= by mistake). There is no room for error in this job. Almost all accidents start with a simple error by the pilot. 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 see also margin of error
  • Word OriginMiddle English: via Old French from Latin error, from errare ‘to stray, err’.Extra examples An error message comes up when I try to open the program. Do not repeat the errors of your parents and grandparents. Glasses can correct most errors in your vision. Have the courage to admit your error. He checked his letter for errors in spelling. He had committed a grave error in letting them see the document. He made the fatal error of borrowing more than he could pay back. He realized his error in not attending the funeral. His attempts to arrange a party ended up as a comedy of errors. His research interests include measurement error in survey research. I found several factual errors in the report. I only realized my error when it was too late. She has avoided the common error of writing too much. She made several serious errors during the race. Thank you for catching that silly error on my part. The American produced five double faults and 35 unforced errors. The Kenyan athlete made a tactical error in starting too fast. The ability to learn from past errors is vital in business. The difference is due to a rounding error in the first calculation. The document contained a lot of typing errors. The error was pointed out to her by one of her colleagues. The machine had been switched off in error. The margin of error for a racing driver is tiny. The minister had made an amazing error of judgement. The paper accidentally printed the victim’s address, then compounded their error by printing her name the next day. The plane crash was caused by human error, not mechanical failure. The report contained some glaring errors. The speech contained many errors of fact. We regret the clerical error made in the letter sent to Mr Finlay. Will they realize the error of their ways before it is too late? errors arising from inadequate information errors caused by illegibly written orders machines with relatively high error rates the use of computer systems to reduce hospital errors Children learn to use computer programs by trial and error. He accused the prime minister of committing a serious error of judgement. The computer system was switched off in error. The delay was due to human error.Idioms
    see, realize, etc. the error of your ways
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    (formal or humorous) to realize or admit that you have done something wrong and decide to change your behaviour
    the process of solving a problem by trying various methods until you find a method that is successful Children learn to use computer programs by trial and error.
    See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: error