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comedy of errors

A situation or series of events characterized by a number of humorous or ridiculous mix-ups, mishaps, or blunders. Taken from one of Shakespeare's early comedies, The Comedy of Errors. Their business was a comedy of errors by the end, with orders constantly being confused, employees arriving at the wrong time, and the financial accounts being all over the place. The story is a delightful comedy of errors, in which every sort of mistake and confusion that can arise does—with everything working out just fine in the end, of course.
See also: comedy, error, of

schoolboy error

A very simple, basic, or fundamental mistake or error. Primarily heard in UK. Thanks to a schoolboy error by their opponents' keeper, the football club will advance to the next round of the tourney. The math textbook had to be reprinted after several schoolboy errors were discovered in some of the equations.
See also: error, schoolboy

in error

Mistakenly or by accident. My apologies, I sent you that document in error. So I just found out that the doctor's office called me in error—I'm so relieved!
See also: error

see the error of (one's) ways

To realize that one has been wrong and/or has behaved poorly. I'm afraid it took me too long to see the error of my ways. But it's not too late for you. He'll never see the error of his ways if he keeps being rewarded for the bad decisions he's made.
See also: error, of, see, way

by trial and error

Describing a method by which one makes attempts towards some goal and then learns from one's failures and adjusts accordingly. Rather than doing things by trial and error, you should really read the manual before trying to fix your car's engine.
See also: and, by, error, trial

the error of (one's) ways

What has been wrong, hurtful, or unfair about one's behavior or way of life. He'll never see the error of his ways if he keeps being rewarded for the bad decisions he's made. I'm afraid it took me too long to realize the error of my ways. But it's not too late for you.
See also: error, of, way

fall into error

To begin to misbehave. When I went off to college, I fell into error—that's why I've moved back home now.
See also: error, fall

rounding error

a large amount of money that is relatively small in comparison to a much larger sum. To a large company like Smith & Co., a few thousand dollars is just a rounding error. It's not a lot at all.
See also: error, round

trial and error

trying repeatedly for success. I finally found the right key after lots of trial and error. Sometimes trial and error is the only way to get something done.
See also: and, error, trial

comedy of errors

A complex or humorous series of events, as in Mary and John went to the Smiths', while the Smiths went to the Parkers', and the Parkers wondered why no one answered the door at John and Mary's-a true comedy of errors . The term borrows the title of Shakespeare's play, The Comedy of Errors, about two sets of twin brothers, master and slave, who are separated in infancy, and the mix-ups occurring when they arrive in the same place many years later. [c. 1600]
See also: comedy, error, of

fall into

1. Enter or engage in, be drawn into, as in I told Dad not to fall into conversation with them. [Late 1400s]
2. See fall in, def. 1.
3. Be naturally divisible into, as in These students fall into three categories. [First half of 1600s]
4. fall into error or sin . Be drawn into bad behavior, as in I fell into error when I started spending time with the wrong crowd. This usage, like fall from grace, originally alluded to religious concerns. It is now used less often and more loosely. [Late 1100s]
5. fall into a trap. Be deceived, unknowingly become involved in something. For example, By admitting I had free time, I fell into the trap of having to help him with his work . Also see under fall in; fall in line; fall in place.
See also: fall

trial and error

An attempt to accomplish something by trying various means until the correct one is found. for example, The only way to solve this problem is by trial and error. The error here alludes to the failed means or attempts, which are discarded until the right way is found. [c. 1800]
See also: and, error, trial

see the error of your ways

COMMON If you see the error of your ways, you realise that you have behaved badly and start to understand how you can do better. I wanted an opportunity to talk some sense into him and try to make him see the error of his ways. Note: You can also say that you realise the error of your ways. It took him a long time, he says, to realise the error of his ways. Note: You can also point out or show someone the error of their ways. He only responded when his players pointed out the error of his ways. But I firmly believe that many of these conservatives can be shown the error of their ways.
See also: error, of, see, way

trial and error

the process of experimenting with various methods of doing something until you find the most successful.
See also: and, error, trial

the ˌerror of your ˈways

(formal or humorous) what is wrong and should be changed about the kind of life you are leading: While he was in prison, a social worker visited him in an attempt to make him see the error of his ways.
See also: error, of, way

by ˌtrial and ˈerror

trying different ways of doing something until you find the right one: I didn’t know how to use the camera at first, so I had to learn by trial and error.
See also: and, by, error, trial

fall into

1. To descend or drop freely or effortlessly into something: I was so tired that I went to my bedroom and fell into bed.
2. To come to assume a configuration, pattern, or order: The lines of text fell into neat rows. After a quick meeting, our plans fell into place.
3. To come upon, receive, or become involved with something, especially by chance: They fell into a lot of money unexpectedly, so they bought a new car.
4. To undergo a change of state or emotion, especially a negative change: I took one look at my class schedule and fell into a bad mood. The tenants complained when the apartment building fell into disrepair.
See also: fall

comedy of errors

A ludicrous event or sequence of events: The candidate's campaign turned out to be a political comedy of errors.
See also: comedy, error, of
References in periodicals archive ?
Because it has more than two foldings on (-[pi], [pi]) (actually an infinity), an errorless interpolation of Z is not possible.
In another study, intermodal transfer from a visual to an auditory discrimination task was investigated using an errorless learning procedure.
The sections on rapport building, the importance of motivation, errorless teaching, and reinforcement are well-written, accurate, and perfectly suited to the needs of parents and professionals new to this approach.
Errorless differentiation of academic responses by college students.
Towards errorless condom use: a comparison of two courses to improve condom use skills.
Two contrasting principles, errorless learning and self-generation, have been investigated for their effects in training individuals with brain damage.
Another technique used to improve disruptive behavior in children with DD is errorless compliance training.
The system uses bar codes for identification purposes and mobile, wireless data entry as the basis for efficient, real-time and virtually errorless data management, enabling Kraft to effortlessly track all pallet-based direct material.
The curriculum targets pre-K through third grade and emphasizes independent, self-paced and errorless learning.
By defining "slow down" as slow enough for errorless performance, by defining repetition as correct repetition before an increase in difficulty and by further defining repetition as involving incremental increases in difficulty, teachers set the stage for students to reap maximum gain from these techniques.
BB] mention traditional, algorithmic teaching approaches as a main reason for students' errors, Dreyfus and Hoch [DH] mention the need to enhance the internal structure of equations that students hold, while [S] carefully analyzes difficulties with reference to the various solving methods and indicates that even the functional approach and the use of graphic calculators do not automatically lead to errorless solutions.
An example of a compensatory intervention for schizophrenic patients with cognitive deficits is errorless learning.
Because the company moves and manages all of the nearly 24,000 SKUs in its inventory by bar-code scanning, the fact that there are no keyed-in entries ensures a nearly errorless process.
Some of the components of discrete trial training that have been documented to be effective include errorless learning (e.
Although remarkably free of mistakes, the volume is not errorless (on page 65, a reference to the 1890s should read the 1790s).
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