Definition of error in English:



  • 1A mistake.

    ‘spelling errors’
    ‘an error of judgment’
    • ‘Just because he made a mistake, an error of judgement made by a bad husband, it doesn't make him a bad politician.’
    • ‘This is simultaneously a spelling error and a malapropism.’
    • ‘A minute mistake, an error of judgement, is all that it takes for a ghastly mishap to occur, resulting in death or worse, a life-long disability.’
    • ‘The report called the error a " serious mistake " and also revealed that the intern was sick himself when he was taking care of the patient.’
    • ‘Thankfully, only one of these five made the common error of mistaking morbidity for profundity.’
    • ‘The message is ready and short, but there are some spelling errors so remember to correct them.’
    • ‘I'd have found that funnier if it hadn't been about a spelling error.’
    • ‘This is not a mistake but an error of historic proportions.’
    • ‘Judgement errors are bound to exist and bombs falling off target from the air is nothing new.’
    • ‘Now, maybe you want to put it down as a mistake or an error or an oversight.’
    • ‘Was this a house speciality or a spelling error?’
    • ‘Yes, of course there's a spelling error in the title!’
    • ‘Any fool can be pedantic and snipe at what they think are minor errors in grammar.’
    • ‘In a way, Nolan makes a similar error of judgement, mistaking atmospheric darkness for thematic darkness.’
    • ‘When someone makes a mistake, whether it is a spelling error or an unnecessarily long answer, be kind about it.’
    • ‘Have you ever worried that people are grousing about the egregious errors of your judgment?’
    • ‘He's tallying up all the dreadful mistakes and errors of judgement that got us to this place.’
    • ‘The workman made a spelling error engraving the box and it was never sent.’
    • ‘That happens a lot on the web, and sometimes it can be used to cover awful mistakes or errors of judgment.’
    • ‘There were errors of judgment, but the more we are made to pay for them, the less likely they are to happen again.’
    mistake, fallacy, misconception, delusion
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 The state or condition of being wrong in conduct or judgment.
      ‘the crash was caused by human error’
      ‘the money had been paid in error’
      • ‘Now, as a consequent of inadvertent human error, conditions are contrary to preferred expectations.’
      • ‘The third major category of error consists of specimen defects.’
      • ‘However, something, whether by human error or mechanical fault, went awfully wrong as we saw him plummet to his death from the arena roof.’
      • ‘We know about human error, mechanical failure and accidents.’
      • ‘But these systems cannot cope with human error.’
      • ‘Lastly, don't discount the possibility of human error when conducting the audit.’
      • ‘A female colleague of mine told me that she called to speak to a friend recently and in error dialled the wrong telephone number.’
      • ‘If bias remains a major source of error over time, then the forecasting system is not improving.’
      • ‘Since the birefringence of the projection lens is well controlled, there is little wavefront error due to polarization.’
      • ‘Ideally, research on this question should be conducted prospectively to reduce measurement error in reporting of such meaningful experiences.’
      • ‘It was human error - the command to turn the instrument on was forgotten.’
      • ‘You've got human error, possibilities for mischief.’
      • ‘At some point, increasing error causes major information loss because many conformations populate the average noise sphere.’
      • ‘If the button is clearly labeled, but the employee still pushes the wrong button, that is human error.’
      • ‘However, a major source of error is determination of concentration.’
      • ‘An investigation into the crash showed that the accident was caused by pilot error.’
      • ‘So far as the applicants are concerned, the presiding judge committed jurisdictional error.’
      • ‘Estimation error is likely to make branch lengths appear even less clocklike than they actually are.’
      • ‘But I hope that they pause and at least consider that they might be in error, on the wrong side of history.’
      • ‘The common threads running through most nuclear accidents are unexpected technical conditions and human error.’
      wrongly, by mistake, mistakenly, incorrectly, inappropriately, misguidedly
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2Baseball A misplay by a fielder that allows a batter to reach base or a runner to advance.
      • ‘Don Wert then reached base on an infield error and the lead run scored.’
      • ‘But a Cardinals batter reached on an error, and Curt Flood followed with a two-run home run to end the bid.’
      • ‘How often does Ichiro Suzuki reach base on an error as opposed to the average batter?’
      • ‘Although determining a base hit versus an error routinely raises controversy and discussion, there is much more involved.’
      • ‘Taft Wright reached on an error by our center fielder Roy Weatherly, and I loaded the bases with two walks.’
    3. 1.3technical A measure of the estimated difference between the observed or calculated value of a quantity and its true value.
      • ‘Blinded review as a method to measure the true error rate is labor-intensive.’
      • ‘There is a statistically significant difference in the estimating error between estimating at WBS level one and level two.’
      • ‘The within group variance component estimates measurement error, as percentage of the total variance.’
      • ‘We compared the Ka and Ks values computed from the three methods with their corresponding expected values and calculated their error percentages.’
      • ‘In the mixed model used to assess significance, the observed error among replicate measures was incorporated for each gene individually.’
    4. 1.4Law A mistake of fact or of law in a court's opinion, judgment or order.
      ‘the decisions of the appeal committee disclosed no error of law’
      • ‘The question to what extent error of a non-jurisdictional fact is a separate ground for judicial review is not settled.’
      • ‘Is it asserted that there was jurisdictional error in making the orders of 9 March or some other basis of that?’
      • ‘The fact that the error in the order was not adverted to by the learned Lord Justices in the Court of Appeal does not help; it was not a matter of relevance to their decision.’
      • ‘This idea of perception of error of fact reopens the matters in the High Court?’
      • ‘The suit came to the Supreme Court on a writ of error from the District Court of Illinois brought by the plaintiff.’


  • see the error of one's ways

    • Realize or acknowledge one's wrongdoing.

      • ‘I have no idea why he aimed a gun at his older brother, but I think that doing so shocked him into seeing the error of his ways…’
      • ‘There should be someone to supervise them, to talk to them and make them see the error of their ways.’
      • ‘It is a pity that you cannot see the error of your ways.’
      • ‘But one year a little boy helps them see the error of their ways.’
      • ‘And when they do, does the ‘punishment’ they receive help them see the error of their ways?’
      • ‘This failure will not be remedied by having EU politicians demand that voters see the error of their ways and ratify a constitution they have only recently rejected.’
      • ‘To conclude my digression, let me tell that my pal quickly saw the error of his ways and got a decent job in a newspaper soon after.’
      • ‘But the recent pictures added to that, and there is a growing movement of people who are seeing the error of their ways.’
      • ‘However, to then book Neill for diving was outrageous and we can only hope the Sheffield official sees the error of his ways before the second leg.’
      • ‘They will not come through this smelling of roses, but hopefully they will see the error of their ways and come to think of what real competence is about.’
      feel remorse for, regret, be sorry for, rue, reproach oneself for, be ashamed of, feel contrite about, wish that one had not done something
      View synonyms


Middle English: via Old French from Latin error, from errare ‘to stray, err’.