Meaning of ERROR in English
er ‧ ror S3 W2 AC /ˈerə $ ˈerər/ BrE AmE noun
[ Word Family: noun : ↑ error ; adjective : ↑ erroneous ]
[ Date: 1200-1300 ; Language: Old French ; Origin: errour , from Latin error , from errare ; ⇨ ↑ err ]
1 . [uncountable and countable] a mistake
There must be an error in our calculations.
Error is rather formal and is mainly used when talking about computers or in some fixed expressions such as human error . In everyday English, people usually use mistake :
There must be a mistake somewhere.
2 . [countable] a mistake when you are working on a computer, which means that the computer program cannot do what you want it to do:
an error message
3 . error of judgement a mistake in the way that you examine a situation and decide what to do:
The decision to expand the company was an error of judgement.
4 . be in error to have made a mistake, especially when making an official decision:
The doctor has admitted that he was in error.
5 . do something in error if you do something in error, you do it by mistake:
The wrong man was arrested in error.
6 . see the error of your ways literary to realize that you have been behaving badly and decide to stop
⇨ trial and error at ↑ trial 1 (4)
• • •
COLLOCATIONS (for Meanings 1 & 2)
▪ make an error
We made too many errors, and that cost us the game.
▪ commit an error formal (=make an error, especially a serious one )
He knew he had committed a grave error of judgement.
▪ have/contain an error
If the data contains errors, the results will be wrong.
▪ find/spot/notice an error
His accountant spotted several errors in his tax return.
▪ realize your error
By the time she realized her error, it was too late.
▪ correct an error ( also rectify an error formal )
We will rectify the error as soon as possible.
▪ avoid errors
He resolved to learn from his mistakes and avoid similar errors in the future.
▪ compound an error (=make it worse)
He refused to listen to our advice, which compounded the error.
▪ an error arises/occurs formal (=happens)
If an error occurs, you will have two more chances to re-enter your password.
■ ADJECTIVES/NOUN + error
▪ a common error
a common error which students often make when writing essays
▪ a serious/bad error
The police made a serious error, which resulted in a young man’s death.
▪ a small/minor error
The letter contained some minor spelling errors.
▪ a glaring error (=very bad and very noticeable)
There is a glaring error on page 10, where his date of death is given as 2053, not 1003.
▪ a huge/monumental error (=very serious)
It was a monumental error to attack from the north.
▪ a grave error (=extremely serious, with serious results)
He has committed a grave error.
▪ a fatal error (=extremely serious, so that you are certain to fail)
Telling your staff they are not important is a fatal error.
▪ an unfortunate error
An unfortunate error resulted in confidential information being released to the press.
▪ a grammatical/spelling/typing error
You lose marks if your paper contains spelling errors.
▪ a clerical/administrative error
The applications forms were sent to the wrong addresses due to a clerical error.
▪ a factual error (=which includes a fact that is wrong)
The article contains many factual errors.
▪ a tactical error (=one that may cause a plan to fail)
Both parties have made tactical errors in the run-up to the election.
▪ a random error (=one that is not like others or part of a pattern)
This may seem like a random error, but in fact it is repeated once in every 5,000 samples.
▪ human error (=errors made by people)
Automatic checks reduce the danger of human error.
▪ computer error
An on-board computer error meant that the plane’s systems shut down for a few vital seconds.
▪ pilot/driver error
Investigators believe the crash was caused by pilot error.
▪ sb’s past errors formal
If we fail to learn from our past errors, we are doomed to repeat them.
▪ a margin of error (=the degree to which a calculation might be wrong)
We have to allow for a small margin of error in the calculations.
• • •
▪ mistake something incorrect that you accidentally do, say, or write:
a spelling mistake
I made a mistake – it should say £230, not £320.
▪ error formal a mistake:
an error in the report
He had made a serious error on his tax form.
▪ misprint a small mistake in something that is printed:
There was a misprint in the article, and instead of ‘pleasant’ it said ‘pheasant’.
▪ typo informal a mistake in something that has been typed or printed:
I spotted a couple of typos in the letter.
▪ inaccuracy formal a piece of information that is not completely correct:
The report contained several inaccuracies.
▪ mix-up a careless mistake in which one name, time, address etc has been confused with another, so that the details of something are wrong:
There was a mix-up over the train times and I missed my train.
▪ slip-up a careless mistake when you are doing something:
The other team took advantage of the goalie’s slip-up.
▪ oversight a mistake in which you forget something or do not notice something:
Through some oversight, the brochures were not ready by the right date.
▪ a slip of the tongue a mistake in which you accidentally say a similar sounding word:
When I said Thursday, I meant Tuesday. It was a slip of the tongue.
▪ faux pas /ˌfəʊ ˈpɑː, ˈfəʊ pɑː $ ˌfoʊ ˈpɑː/ formal an embarrassing mistake in a social situation, when you do or say something that you shouldn’t:
Harris, trying to be funny, addressed the waiter as ‘boy’. A deathly silence followed this faux pas.
Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English. Longman - Словарь современного английского языка. 2012