Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Idioms, Encyclopedia.
Related to mistaking: call on, make of, try out, picking on, holding up, took over


1. An error or fault resulting from defective judgment, deficient knowledge, or carelessness.
2. A misconception or misunderstanding.
v. mis·took (mĭ-sto͝ok′), mis·tak·en (mĭ-stā′kən), mis·tak·ing, mis·takes
1. To understand wrongly; misinterpret: mistook my politeness for friendliness.
2. To recognize or identify incorrectly: He mistook her for her sister.
To make a mistake; err.

[From Middle English mistaken, to misunderstand, from Old Norse mistaka, to take in error : mis-, wrongly; see mei- in Indo-European roots + taka, to take.]

mis·tak′er n.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.mistaking - putting the wrong interpretation onmistaking - putting the wrong interpretation on; "his misinterpretation of the question caused his error"; "there was no mistaking her meaning"
interpretation - an explanation that results from interpreting something; "the report included his interpretation of the forensic evidence"
imbroglio - a very embarrassing misunderstanding
misconstrual, misconstruction - a kind of misinterpretation resulting from putting a wrong construction on words or actions (often deliberately)
misreading - misinterpretation caused by inaccurate reading
References in classic literature ?
Amy was learning this distinction through much tribulation, for mistaking enthusiasm for inspiration, she attempted every branch of art with youthful audacity.
echoed the fierce Huron, mistaking in his anger, the meaning of her words; "the memory of an Indian is no longer than the arm of the pale faces; his mercy shorter than their justice
It was a modern parallel to the case of Ixion embracing a cloud, and was so much the more ridiculous as the Judge prided himself on eschewing all airy matter, and never mistaking a shadow for a substance.
However, by dint of beating about a little in the dark, and now and then knocking up a peaceable inhabitant to inquire the way, we at last came to something which there was no mistaking.