From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishmistakemis‧take1 /məˈsteɪk/ ●●● S2 W2 noun 1 [countable]MISTAKE something that has been done in the wrong way, or an opinion or statement that is incorrect → errormistake in We may have made a mistake in our calculations. The most common mistake is to plant them too deep.► see thesaurus at fault2 [countable]MISTAKE something you do that is not sensible or has a bad result Buying the house seemed a great idea at the time, but now I can see it was a terrible mistake. Marrying him was the biggest mistake she ever made.make the mistake of doing something I stupidly made the mistake of giving them my phone number.3 → by mistake4 → in mistake for somebody/something5 → we all make mistakes6 → make no mistake (about it)7 → and no mistakeCOLLOCATIONS – Meaning 1: something that has been done in the wrong way, or an opinion or statement that is incorrectverbsmake a mistakeThe lab must have made a mistake – this can’t be right.correct a mistakeLuckily I was able to correct the mistake before my boss saw it.realize your mistakeAs soon as he realized his mistake he turned in the right direction.admit your mistakeIt is better to admit your mistake and apologize.mistakes happenWe’re very careful, but mistakes can happen.ADJECTIVES/NOUN + mistakea common mistakeA common mistake is to imagine that dogs think like humans.a little/minor mistakeThe essay was full of little mistakes.a serious/grave mistakeThere was a serious mistake in the instructions.an honest mistake (=a mistake, and not a deliberate action)Thomas admitted he had broken the law, but said that it had been an honest mistake.a silly/stupid mistakeYou need to be able to laugh at your own silly mistakes.an easy mistake (to make)She looks like her sister, so it’s an easy mistake to make.a spelling mistakeShe spotted two spelling mistakes in the article.phrasesbe full of mistakesThe article was full of mistakes.it is a mistake to think/assume etc somethingIt would be a mistake to assume that all snakes are dangerous.there must be some mistake (=used when you think someone has made a mistake)There must be some mistake. I definitely booked a room for tonight.be full of mistakes (=have a lot of mistakes)The report was full of mistakes.be all a mistake (=used to say that a situation happened because of a mistake)He couldn’t bring himself to tell her it was all a mistake.COMMON ERRORS ► Don’t say ‘do a mistake’. Say make a mistake.THESAURUSmistake something incorrect that you accidentally do, say, or writea spelling mistakeI made a mistake – it should say £230, not £320.error formal a mistakean error in the reportgrammatical errorsHe had made a serious error on his tax form.misprint a small mistake in something that is printedThere was a misprint in the article, and instead of ‘pleasant’ it said ‘pheasant’.typo informal a mistake in something that has been typed or printedI spotted a couple of typos in the letter.inaccuracy formal a piece of information that is not completely correctThe report contained several inaccuracies.mix-up a careless mistake in which one name, time, address etc has been confused with another, so that the details of something are wrongThere was a mix-up over the train times and I missed my train.slip-up a careless mistake when you are doing somethingThe other team took advantage of the goalie’s slip-up.oversight a mistake in which you forget something or do not notice somethingThrough some oversight, the brochures were not ready by the right date.a slip of the tongue a mistake in which you accidentally say a similar sounding wordWhen I said Thursday, I meant Tuesday. It was a slip of the tongue.faux pas /ˌfəʊ ˈpɑː, ˈfəʊ pɑː $ ˌfoʊ ˈpɑː/ formal an embarrassing mistake in a social situation, when you do or say something that you shouldn’tHarris, trying to be funny, addressed the waiter as ‘boy’. A deathly silence followed this faux pas.a stupid mistakeblunder a stupid mistake caused by not thinking carefully enough about what you are saying or doing, which could have serious resultsIn a serious blunder by the hospital, two babies were sent home with the wrong parents.gaffe /ɡæf/ an embarrassing and stupid mistake made in a social situation or in publica serious gaffe in her speech about immigrationhowler British English a very bad mistake, especially one that shows you do not know something, and that often makes other people laughPhotographers should be careful of making classic howlers, such as having a tree grow out of your subject’s head.cock-up British English informal a silly mistake when you are doing something – a very informal useThey made a cock-up with the bill.The government is anxious to avoid any more cock-ups.COLLOCATIONS – Meaning 2: something you do that is not sensible or has a bad resultverbsmake a mistakeI just want to prevent you from making a terrible mistake.learn from your mistakesI’m sure he will learn from his mistakes.repeat a mistakeWe certainly do not want to repeat the mistakes of the past.adjectivesa big/great mistakeBuying this car was a big mistake.a bad/terrible/dreadful etc mistakeIt would be a terrible mistake to marry him.a serious/grave mistakeThe decision to take the money was a serious mistake.a fatal mistake (=a very bad mistake, often one that ends something)His fatal mistake was to underestimate his opponent.a costly mistake (=that costs you money or has a bad result)Hiring him turned out to be a costly mistake.phrasesit is a mistake to do somethingIt is a mistake to try to see everything in the museum in one day.make the mistake of doing somethingHe made the mistake of revealing his true intentions.make the same mistake again/twiceWe won’t make the same mistake again.
Examples from the Corpusmistake• It would be a mistake to assume that all participants in the revolt were involved in it for the same reasons.• She certainly hadn't made a mistake with the booking and she had confirmed it.• If you make a mistake, just cross it out.• There's a mistake in the address.• I feel that what we did and the way we did it was a mistake.• It was a mistake to think that we could go on living on borrowed money.• This was a mistake, however, for it developed that the Math Teacher was not at all keen about psychiatry.• I had made a pretty big mistake in how I handled it.• Buying the farm was the biggest mistake of her life.• Again it was one of those games where defensive mistakes gave the points away.• My first mistake was dismissing the SE-40.• All I can say is, I think I've learnt from my mistakes.• Your essay is full of mistakes.• There are a lot of mistakes in this - I'll print it out again.• Sampras was playing badly, making a lot of mistakes.• History was being catalogued here, the missed opportunities, blunders, and outright mistakes.• My first marriage was a terrible failure. I don't want to make the same mistake again.• There must be some mistake - I definitely paid the bill last week.• Check your work carefully for any spelling mistakes.• Celia corrected the mistakes with a pen.• Don't make the mistake of underestimating your opponent.• By the time they realized their mistake and released Mohiuddin, it was too late.• a tiny mistake in their calculationsmistakemistake2 ●●○ verb (past tense mistook /-ˈstʊk/, past participle mistaken /-ˈsteɪkən/) [transitive] 1 UNDERSTAND#to understand something wrongly She mistook my meaning entirely. Ken mistook her concern, thinking she was interested in him for another reason.2 → you can’t mistake somebody/something3 → there is no mistaking somebody/something → mistake somebody/something for somebody/something→ See Verb table
Examples from the Corpusmistake• Anyway, in these vague expectations I was mistaken.• If Father van Exem thought that the Archbishop would readily agree, he was mistaken.• If Holt thinks that this proposal would remove an arbitrary boundary line between adults and children, then he is mistaken.• She thought his Catholicism, the emotion he mistook for faith, was a pity.• After the furore over the schoolgirl rape victim, he risks having a controversial but respectable viewpoint mistaken for insensitivity.• To her embarrassment, she mistook the date of the elections.• This turn also begins with Anderson mistaking the topic of conversation.• Since their directives are binding even when mistaken, they do then make a difference.Origin mistake2 (1300-1400) Old Norse mistaka