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What does an honest mistake mean?
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An honest mistake is an unintentional one, one not made with malice aforethought.
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Specifically it means that you are being honest when you say..'that was a mistake' rather that hiding some intentional malice or recklessness.

More generally it refers to a mistake that was unintentional and was committed free of malice.
The meaning of any word or phrase starts with the "user",the speaker or wriiter, and his intended meaning, and ends with the "receiver" and their perceived understanding. So, in saying that, "an honest mistake" would probably mean to most people that someone made a normal human error that humans are known to make, would be common. However, for someone who uses mistakes to hide behind, and possibly use them to hide criminal behavior, an honest mistake is an intentional act designed to disquise and confuse. Dependeds on the intent of the initiator. I have learned this the very,very hard way. Language is very flexible, always evolving, and never absolute.
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There is actually an honest mistake. Like many others have said, an honest mistake is a mistake that wasn't intentionally meant to happen. Emotion: smile
AnonymousThere is no such thing as an "honest mistake"
The meaning of an "honest mistake" is that the speaker truly believed in the honesty/truth of their statement. If it turns out that the statement contained factual errors, then the content was mistaken, but the error was provided honestly. There was no intent to deceive. NO individual can always be fully honest and truthful, without making any errors (unless they never speak).

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 doriscornago's reply was promoted to an answer.