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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 attempts are made to achieve some goal, and then adjustments are made based on any mistakes or failures, followed by further attempts and adjustments until the goal is achieved. Rather than doing things by trial and error, you should really read the manual before trying to fix your 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

trial and error

A process of determining the correct way in which to do something by making multiple attempts and learning from any possible failures or mistakes. Hyphenated if used as a modifier before a noun. I didn't have any instructions for reassembling the machine, so it was just a case of trial and error until I got it right. You take a trial-and-error approach to this issue—we need to make sure we get it right the first time!
See also: and, error, trial

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 ?
Frequency of medical errors in hospitals, determination of medical error types and medical errors: Konya sample.
The Type of Medical Error that Occurred###Negligence of Medical Staff*###47###40.
He asserts that 'moral error is a version of practical error' (69).
Astrength of this study is that the results are consistent with other international studies that have found medication errors the most frequent type of error (Tissot, Cornette, Demoly, Jacquet, Barale, & Capellier, 1999; van den Bemt, Fijn, van der Voort, Gossen, Egberts, & Brouwers, 2002).
This procedure may reduce student errors and lead to less frustration, quicker acquisition, and less remediation time.
The subsequent application of the installment method was a correction of the error.
After the controller examines all of the above controls and determines none would have found the error, there is yet one more control that might have done the job--balance sheet account reconciliation.
It is almost impossible to overstate the extent or the seriousness of data error in spreadsheets and databases.
According to the American Journal of Health-System Pharmacists, over 3 percent of hospital admissions result from a need to treat a medication error.
Even with vast armies of staff diligently checking and rechecking spreadsheets to catch the elusive errors, it's a virtual certainty that some will be missed, resulting in a multitude of problems that might include stiff penalties, lawsuits, tumbling share value, loss of investor confidence, damaged reputations, adverse press coverage and ruined careers.
For the error measurements, we used an Optodyne model MCV-500 LDDM with SD-500 sequential diagonal measurement accessory single-aperture laser calibration system with a steering mirror for easy alignment of the laser beam in the body diagonal direction.
For a fixed amount of frame spacing error, the resulting error in computation of vertical position y is dependent on location within the pattern.
The D-element provides Derivative error correction.
In an exemplary way, Louise Labe turns the lover/poet's error into a renewed relation with canonical texts.
Still more recently, it has been suggested that, the use of GAMs to analyze time-series data results in air pollution risk estimates being biased upward and that concurvity in the rime-series data results in standard error estimates being biased downward.