Meaning of “mistake” in the English Dictionary

"mistake" in British English

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mistakenoun [ C ]

uk /mɪˈsteɪk/ us /mɪˈsteɪk/

A2 an action, decision, or judgment that produces an unwanted or unintentional result:

I'm not blaming you - we all make mistakes.
[ + to infinitive ] It was a mistake for us to come here tonight.
This letter's full of spelling mistakes.
I've discovered a few mistakes in your calculations.
Why am I under arrest? There must be some mistake.
by mistake

B1 by accident:

I've paid this bill twice by mistake.

More examples

  • She admitted that she had made a mistake.
  • Sooner or later she's going to realize what a mistake she's made.
  • There seems to have been a mistake - my name isn't on the list.
  • If you draw or write in pencil you can always rub out your mistakes with an eraser.
  • I have an apology to make to you - I'm afraid I opened your letter by mistake.

mistakeverb [ T ]

uk /mɪˈsteɪk/ us /mɪˈsteɪk/ mistook, mistaken
adjective UK also mistakeable uk /mɪˈsteɪ.kə.bəl/ us /mɪˈsteɪ.kə.bəl/

She's easily mistakeable for a man when she wears that suit and hat.

(Definition of “mistake” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"mistake" in American English

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mistakenoun [ C ]

us /mɪˈsteɪk/

an action or decision that is wrong or produces a result that is not correct or not intended:

We all make mistakes.
[ + to infinitive ] It was a mistake to come to this restaurant without a reservation.
by mistake

By mistake means unintentionally:

I’m sorry – I must have dialed your number by mistake.

mistakeverb [ T ]

us /mɪˈsteɪk/ past tense mistook /mɪˈstʊk/ , past participle mistaken /mɪˈsteɪ·kən/

to be wrong about or fail to recognize something or someone:

[ T always + adv/prep ] I called Karen and mistook her mother for her (= I thought I was speaking to Karen when I was speaking to her mother).

(Definition of “mistake” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

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