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mistake Meaning, Definition & Usage

  1. noun a wrong action attributable to bad judgment or ignorance or inattention
    fault; error.
    • he made a bad mistake
    • she was quick to point out my errors
    • I could understand his English in spite of his grammatical faults
  2. noun an understanding of something that is not correct
    misunderstanding; misapprehension.
    • he wasn't going to admit his mistake
    • make no mistake about his intentions
    • there must be some misunderstanding--I don't have a sister
  3. noun part of a statement that is not correct
    • the book was full of errors
  4. verb identify incorrectly
    • Don't mistake her for her twin sister
  5. verb to make a mistake or be incorrect
    slip; err.

Mis*take" transitive verb
  1. To make or form amiss; to spoil in making. "Limping possibilities of mismade human nature." Mrs. Browning.
Mis*take" transitive verb
Pref. mis- + take: cf. Icel. mistaka.
imperfect & obsolete past participle Mistook ; past participle Mistaken ; present participle & verbal noun Mistaking
  1. To take or choose wrongly. Obs. or R. Shak.
  2. To take in a wrong sense; to misunderstand misapprehend, or misconceive; as, to mistake a remark; to mistake one's meaning. Locke.
    My father's purposes have been mistook. Shak.
  3. To substitute in thought or perception; as, to mistake one person for another.
    A man may mistake the love of virtue for the practice of it. Johnson.
  4. To have a wrong idea of in respect of character, qualities, etc.; to misjudge.
    Mistake me not so much, To think my poverty is treacherous. Shak.
Mis*take" intransitive verb
  1. To err in knowledge, perception, opinion, or judgment; to commit an unintentional error.
    Servants mistake, and sometimes occasion misunderstanding among friends. Swift.
Mis*take" noun
  1. An apprehending wrongly; a misconception; a misunderstanding; a fault in opinion or judgment; an unintentional error of conduct.
    Infallibility is an absolute security of the understanding from all possibility of mistake. Tillotson.
  2. (Law) Misconception, error, which when non-negligent may be ground for rescinding a contract, or for refusing to perform it. Syn. -- Blunder; error; bull. See Blunder.

Webster 1913