A lot vs. Alot: 9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[mi-steyk] /mɪˈsteɪk/
an error in action, calculation, opinion, or judgment caused by poor reasoning, carelessness, insufficient knowledge, etc.
a misunderstanding or misconception.
verb (used with object), mistook, mistaken, mistaking.
to regard or identify wrongly as something or someone else:
I mistook him for the mayor.
to understand, interpret, or evaluate wrongly; misunderstand; misinterpret.
verb (used without object), mistook, mistaken, mistaking.
to be in error.
and no mistake, for certain; surely:
He's an honorable person, and no mistake.
1300-30; Middle English mistaken (v.) < Old Norse mistaka to take in error. See mis-1, take
Related forms
mistaker, noun
mistakingly, adverb
unmistaking, adjective
unmistakingly, adverb
Can be confused
misnomer, mistake (see confusables note at misnomer)
1. inaccuracy, erratum, fault, oversight. Mistake, blunder, error, slip refer to deviations from right, accuracy, correctness, or truth. A mistake, grave or trivial, is caused by bad judgment or a disregard of rule or principle: It was a mistake to argue. A blunder is a careless, stupid, or gross mistake in action or speech, suggesting awkwardness, heedlessness, or ignorance: Through his blunder the message was lost. An error (often interchanged with mistake ) is an unintentional wandering or deviation from accuracy, or right conduct: an error in addition. A slip is usually a minor mistake made through haste or carelessness: a slip of the tongue. 4. misconceive, misjudge, err.
2. understanding.
Confusables note
See misnomer. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for mistakes
  • Amateur winemakers are prone to first-timers' mistakes.
  • But that means no copy editor catches your mistakes before print.
  • It corrects some of the oft-repeated mistakes written about her life.
  • But some are justified at having made their mistakes while others are unjustified.
  • When you're doing four shows a day, you could make mistakes on the first show because you could correct it by the second show.
  • He told me he likes to meet with former leaders-to learn from their mistakes.
  • Dinosaur die-hards will also be able to pick out a few mistakes.
  • The results of previous mistakes were mostly expendable.
  • It's a hobby, not a chore, so enjoy it and don't worry about making mistakes.
  • Everyone who has ever gone through a search process but has not been selected thinks about the mistakes he or she might have made.
British Dictionary definitions for mistakes


an error or blunder in action, opinion, or judgment
a misconception or misunderstanding
verb -takes, -taking, -took, -taken
(transitive) to misunderstand; misinterpret: she mistook his meaning
(transitive) foll by for. to take (for), interpret (as), or confuse (with): she mistook his direct manner for honesty
(transitive) to choose badly or incorrectly: he mistook his path
(intransitive) to make a mistake in action, opinion, judgment, etc
Derived Forms
mistaker, noun
Word Origin
C13 (meaning: to do wrong, err): from Old Norse mistaka to take erroneously
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for mistakes



early 14c., "to commit an offense;" late 14c., "to misunderstand, misinterpret," from a Scandinavian source (cf. Old Norse mistaka "take in error, miscarry"), from mis- "wrongly" (see mis- (1)) + taka "take" (see take (v.)). Related: Mistook; mistaking.


1630s, from mistake (v.). Meaning "unintended pregnancy" is from 1957.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with mistakes


In addition to the idiom beginning with
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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