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-   -   'Mistake' comes from the movies? (http://message.snopes.com/showthread.php?t=11152)

Tenko 25 June 2007 06:18 PM

'Mistake' comes from the movies?
 
http://www.phenomenews.com/jul2006/hitchcock.htm

I actually got this from a local paper, Phenomenews. Mistake comes from the movies. When someone got a take wrong, it was a mistake. Eventually, those people began using it whenever they got anything wrong and the use of the word mistake to mean an accident spread until it became the word we know today.

The Phenomenews likes to pass glurge as truth, so that's enough to make me suspicious of this to begin with. That, and according to etymonline.com, the word mistake has been in use since the 1600s and I don't think anyone was making any movies, then.

Still, is there a chance that any part of the story is true, like, maybe mistake wasn't a commonly used word, but after the movies, it became more commonly used? Were messed up takes even called mistakes?

Nick Theodorakis 25 June 2007 06:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tenko (Post 225597)
http://www.phenomenews.com/jul2006/hitchcock.htm

I actually got this from a local paper, Phenomenews. Mistake comes from the movies. When someone got a take wrong, it was a mistake. Eventually, those people began using it whenever they got anything wrong and the use of the word mistake to mean an accident spread until it became the word we know today.

The Phenomenews likes to pass glurge as truth, so that's enough to make me suspicious of this to begin with. That, and according to etymonline.com, the word mistake has been in use since the 1600s and I don't think anyone was making any movies, then.

Still, is there a chance that any part of the story is true, like, maybe mistake wasn't a commonly used word, but after the movies, it became more commonly used? Were messed up takes even called mistakes?

From the Online Etymology Dictionary:

Quote:

mistake (v.)
c.1330, from O.N. mistaka "take in error, miscarry," from mis- "wrongly" (see mis- (1)) + taka "take." The noun is attested from 1638.
Nick

Spam & Cookies-mmm 25 June 2007 06:38 PM

Quote:

once heard a story about a woman working in the film industry who noticed something very significant. She was one of the people who “click” the slate that says “Take One, Take Two,” and so on. Whenever the scene needed to be redone, they called it a “mis-take.” She incorporated this into her life and when something she tried didn’t work, she just called it a “mis-take.” And did another take.
From this passage, I get the impression that she's not telling the origin of the word, but giving a new way of looking at the word in a more positive way. "Hey, you didn't just make a major screw up that'll ruin your life. It's just a mis-take. Let's do take-two and move on!"

BamaRainbow 26 June 2007 05:16 AM

"My pretty cousins, you mistake me much" (Richard III, Act 2, Scene 2)
"Mistake no more: I am not Lucio" (The Taming of the Shrew, Act 4, Scene 2)
"Either I mistake your shape and making quite, . . ." (A Midsummer Night's Dream, Act 2, Scene 1)

These are just three of 36 appearances of the word "mistake" that appear on the Bartleby.com reference for "The Oxford Shakespeare". (http://www.bartleby.com/70/)
There's a box in which you can enter a phrase or word and get results. I typed in "mistake" and got the aforementioned 36 results (at least 10 different plays, one sonnet and the poem "Venus and Adonis" feature "mistake" within the work).
Unless Shakespeare had amazing divination skills, I think this is enough proof that "mistake" predates the motion picture industry.

ganzfeld 26 June 2007 05:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BamaRainbow (Post 226445)
Unless Shakespeare had amazing divination skills, I think this is enough proof that "mistake" predates the motion picture industry.

I think if you look closely, you'll find that Shakespeare has been an author of more motion picture scripts than any other writer. Isn't that proof enough that he was in the film industry?

Furienna 25 July 2008 10:51 PM

Well, the word "mistake" sort of exists in Swedish too, in the form "misstag". But a take in a movie is called "tagning". So if the word originated from the movie industry, it would have been "misstagning", not "misstag", in Swedish. And I say that's another proof of that this is another fake etymology.

Floater 28 July 2008 11:14 AM

And the first record of misstag in written Swedish is from 1530.

Furienna 28 July 2008 11:27 AM

See? What did I tell you? :D

Richard W 28 July 2008 12:00 PM

Chambers Dictionary of Etymology gives the first usage as "mistaken" for "to transgress", in Mannyng's Chronicle of England from 1388. The rest of the info is the same as the Online Etymological Dictionary except that it says "mistaka" is Old Icelandic rather than Old Norse. (Although I'd imagine the two are quite similar anyway.)


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