A mistake is an error, a goof, a slip-up. When you make a mistake, you've done something incorrectly.

Mistake has a lot of uses, but they all have to do with doing the wrong thing. A mistake in math class will result in the wrong answer, but a mistake with a gun could get someone killed. If you mix up two people, you're mistaking one for the other. When you make a mistake, the best thing to do is admit it and try to make up for it; not apologizing for a mistake is another mistake.

Definitions of mistake

n a wrong action attributable to bad judgment or ignorance or inattention

“he made a bad mistake
error, fault
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blot, smear, smirch, spot, stain
an act that brings discredit to the person who does it
confusion, mix-up
a mistake that results from taking one thing to be another
the mistake of incurring liability or blame
miscalculation, misestimation, misreckoning
a mistake in calculating
the mistake of misrepresenting the facts
miscue, parapraxis, slip, slip-up
a minor inadvertent mistake usually observed in speech or writing or in small accidents or memory lapses etc.
(sport) the mistake of occupying an illegal position on the playing field (in football, soccer, ice hockey, field hockey, etc.)
lapse, oversight
a mistake resulting from inattention
omission, skip
a mistake resulting from neglect
bloomer, blooper, blunder, boo-boo, botch, bungle, flub, foul-up, pratfall
an embarrassing mistake
balls-up, ballup, cockup, mess-up
something badly botched or muddled
betise, folly, foolishness, imbecility, stupidity
a stupid mistake
renege, revoke
the mistake of not following suit when able to do so
an unexpected omission
the momentary juggling of a batted or thrown baseball
backfire, boomerang
a miscalculation that recoils on its maker
rounding, rounding error
(mathematics) a miscalculation that results from rounding off numbers to a convenient number of decimals
truncation error
(mathematics) a miscalculation that results from cutting off a numerical calculation before it is finished
Freudian slip
a slip-up that (according to Sigmund Freud) results from the operation of unconscious wishes or conflicts and can reveal unconscious processes in normal healthy individuals
a blunder that makes you look ridiculous; used in the phrase `make a spectacle of' yourself
a serious and ludicrous blunder
fumble, muff
(sports) dropping the ball
a blunder (especially an actor's forgetting the lines)
faux pas, gaffe, gaucherie, slip, solecism
a socially awkward or tactless act
a glaring blunder
a conspicuous mistake whose effects seem to reverberate
misstep, stumble, trip, trip-up
an unintentional but embarrassing blunder
Type of:
nonaccomplishment, nonachievement
an act that does not achieve its intended goal

n an understanding of something that is not correct

“he wasn't going to admit his mistake
“make no mistake about his intentions”
misapprehension, misunderstanding
Type of:
an incorrect conception

n part of a statement that is not correct

a printer's error; to be corrected
erratum, literal, literal error, misprint, typo, typographical error
a mistake in printed matter resulting from mechanical failures of some kind
Type of:
a statement that contains a mistake

v identify incorrectly

“Don't mistake her for her twin sister”
confound, confuse
mistake one thing for another
Type of:
consider to be equal or the same

v to make a mistake or be incorrect

err, slip
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remember incorrectly
slip up, stumble, trip up
make an error
judge incorrectly
fall for
be deceived, duped, or entrapped by
underestimate, underrate
make too low an estimate of
overestimate, overrate
make too high an estimate of
miscalculate, misestimate
judge incorrectly

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