A word which has been horribly abused in recent times. Recently, here in Atlanta, the news has been buzzing with the story of the Tri-State Crematory. Apparently, rather than going through the nasty expense of actually cremating people's loved ones, this guy has been sending people home with urns full of wood chips, wood ash, and other refuse and dumping the bodies in the back of the building.

Now, how does this relate to the node title, you ask? On the way out of the court house, the family of the owner was accosted with questions. An older man who was, I think the accused's uncle, said something to the effect of "we still support him, we've all made mistakes". Mistakes. Walking on ice is a mistake, accidentally sending someone home with the wrong ashes is a mistake. I could even extend mistake to falling prey to a foul inclination and lying about something to protect yourself as a mistake, if it is truly done impetuously. Dumping a few hundred bodies in tool sheds, shallow graves, and a lake is not a mistake, it's evil, pure and simple. The damage done to the families, both those of the deceased, and his own, is incalculable. The damage done to the industry in which he worked is immense, at least here in Georgia.

Time and time again, I hear people, when accused of amazing feats of wrongdoing, saying they made a mistake. Maybe we need to pass a law against such an egregious abuse of the English language.

Nothing like a good rant to get the day started.

In chess, a "mistake" is a really bad move that significantly weakens the player's position. In chess notation, a move considered to be a "mistake" is typically marked with a single question mark (?) after the move notation.

A "mistake" is worse than the mildly negative "inaccuracy," but is nowhere near as bad as the utterly terrible "blunder."

For much of chess history, deciding which moves counted as mistakes was often quite subjective. However, in recent times, with the advent of computer evaluation by sophisticated chess engines, what counts as a mistake is often precisely defined. Typically a mistake is defined by computers as a move that loses the player between 1 and 3 pawns of relative advantage compared to what the computer believes to be the best possible move.

Mis*take" (mis*tAk"), v. t. [imp. & obs. p. p. Mistook (- tuk"); p. p. Mistaken (-tAk"'n); p. pr. & vb. n. Mistaking.] [Pref. mis- + take: cf. Icel. mistaka.]


To take or choose wrongly. [Obs. or R.] Shak.


To take in a wrong sense; to misunderstand misapprehend, or misconceive; as, to mistake a remark; to mistake one's meaning. Locke.

My father's purposes have been mistook.


To substitute in thought or perception; as, to mistake one person for another.

A man may mistake the love of virtue for the practice of it.


To have a wrong idea of in respect of character, qualities, etc.; to misjudge.

Mistake me not so much,
To think my poverty is treacherous.


© Webster 1913

Mis*take", v. i.

To err in knowledge, perception, opinion, or judgment; to commit an unintentional error.

Servants mistake, and sometimes occasion misunderstanding among friends.


© Webster 1913

Mis*take" (mis*tAk"), n.


An apprehending wrongly; a misconception; a misunderstanding; a fault in opinion or judgment; an unintentional error of conduct.

Infallibility is an absolute security of the understanding from all possibility of mistake.

2. (Law)

Misconception, error, which when non-negligent may be ground for rescinding a contract, or for refusing to perform it.

No mistake, surely; without fail; as, it will happen at the appointed time, and no mistake. [Low]

Syn. -- Blunder; error; bull. See Blunder.


© Webster 1913

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