Vocabulary

Honest Mistake Meaning

An honest mistake is a mistake made by a person with no wrong intention. That means when the person...

Hristina Yordanova Written by Hristina Yordanova · 2 min read >
honest mistake

An honest mistake is a mistake made by a person with no wrong intention. That means when the person makes the mistake, he was unaware of it and doesn’t know about the consequences.

One can also use this phrase in a sentence to deliver assurance and favor the person who made the mistake. For instance, consider this sentence:

You made a mistake in hiring that employee. However, it’s fine as it’s an honest mistake. We know it can happen to anyone.

In this way, the speaker delivers assurance to people with whom he is having a conversation that the mistake is justified. However, it may not be justified every time depending upon the severity of the consequences even if the mistake is an honest mistake.

Is it an honest mistake or a honest mistake?

We usually write an honest mistake rather not a honest mistake even when the word honest starts with alphabet h.

It is because ‘h” is silent in the word “honest.” As the pronunciation is “onest,” we use “an” as the sound is of a vowel.

What is a genuine mistake?

A genuine mistake is another term used for an honest mistake. When a person is unaware of the mistake he is making, we call it a genuine mistake. It signifies that the mistake made is authentic and not fake.

What is the definition of a mistake?

Something that’s done wrong and not how it should be done, it is categorized as a mistake. A mistake can happen anywhere and it can be related to ethics, process, standards, etc.

The major difference between a mistake and an honest mistake is that a mistake can be done knowingly. However, an honest mistake is done without knowing about it.

Let’s consider an example.

1) The doctor operated on a patient even though he knew the chances of surviving is nil. Is that an honest mistake?

The above-added example showcases a mistake. Here, the person did the mistake of operating even though he knew there’s slim chance of recovery.

Now, let’s take another example

2) He pushed the trolly but he slipped and broke the statue on it. He made an honest mistake.

Here, the example signifies that the mistake done is honest and the person did not do it willingly. He was not aware that he will get slipped and wasn’t even knowing that it would lead to breaking of the statue or anything wrong .

What is the meaning of honest?

Honest word is usually used an adjective for a person or an act to describe it exactly how it is without any hidden information.

For example, consider the sentence:

He is an honest man.

It indicates that the person is true and always does honest acts.

When we use honest with mistakes which change the term mistake and make it genuine. One could use an honest mistake when the mistake is genuine and not made willingly.

Honest mistake examples

As per the honest mistakes definition, we would like to add some examples.

1) Journalists want to make correct information available but they unknowingly mislead people.

The sentence indicates that journalists are making honest mistakes as they are not misleading people knowingly. If you change unknowingly to knowingly or remove the word, it becomes:

Journalists want to make correct information available but they mislead people. This cannot be considered an honest mistake.

2) Consider another sentence for a better understanding of an honest mistake.

There is typo found on the article. The author has made an honest mistake.

In this sentence, the speaker justifies that the author has made an honest mistake because someone won’t make the error willingly. The typo could have happened due to time constraint in editing. Thus, it is an honest mistake.

Let us know if you have ever made any honest mistake in the comment section. And yes, if you write any typo, we know that it is an honest mistake.

Written by Hristina Yordanova
Hristina Yordanova has a Cambridge CPE certification in English and is now pursuing her International Journalism for Media Professionals at the Edinburgh Napier University. She regularly contributes to Cryptopolitan.com and EnglishForward.com from their inception. Her well-written perceptive articles have attracted a steady audience. Profile

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