1 /mi'steIk/ noun (C)
1 INCORRECT ACTION/OPINION ETC something that has been done incorrectly, or an opinion or statement that is incorrect: Hitting the ball too hard in golf is a typical beginner's mistake. | make a mistake: I think you've made a mistake - this isn't my coat. | there must be some mistake (=used when you think someone has made a mistake): There must be some mistake - I already paid my hotel bill. | learn from your mistakes (=learn how to do something correctly by doing it the wrong way first)
2 by mistake if you do something by mistake, you do it without intending to: Someone must have left the door open by mistake.
3 STUPID ACTION something unwise or stupid that someone does, which they regret doing afterwards: Buying the house seemed a great idea at the time, but now I can see it was a mistake. | make a mistake: It's your decision, but I warn you - you're making a mistake. | big mistake: Marrying him was the biggest mistake she ever made. | make the mistake of doing sth: I stupidly made the mistake of giving them my phone number. | it is a mistake to do sth: It would be a mistake to underestimate the amount of support for his victims.
4 IN SPEECH OR WRITING something that is said or written incorrectly, for example in a piece of school work: Ivan's work is always full of mistakes. | make a mistake: At this level, students tend to make a lot of basic mistakes. | spelling mistake: There are a lot of spelling mistakes in this letter.
5 we all make mistakes spoken used when telling someone not to be worried because they have made a mistake
6 make no mistake (about it) spoken used to emphasize what you are saying, especially when you are warning someone: He'll get his revenge, make no mistake about it!.
7 and no mistake spoken used to show that you are very certain about something that you have just said: Miles was a heartbreaker, and no mistake!
—compare error 2 past tense mistook past participle mistaken verb (T)
1 to understand something wrongly: Ken mistook her concern, thinking she was interested in him for another reason. | She mistook my meaning entirely.
2 you can't mistake sb/sth used to say that someone or something is very easy to recognize: You can't mistake her. She's the one with the long red hair.
3 there is no mistaking sb/sth used to say that you are certain about something: There's no mistaking whose children they are - they all look just like Joe.
mistake sb/sth for sb/sth phrasal verb (T) to think that one person or thing is someone or something else: I mistook the poor woman for my sister. | The doctor mistook the symptoms for blood poisoning. (=and it was something else)

Longman dictionary of contemporary English. 2004.

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