|back the wrong horse||If you back or bet on the wrong horse, for example the loser in a contest, match or election, you support the wrong person.|
When I voted for him I was convinced he would win, but I backed the wrong horse!
|bark up the wrong tree||A person who is barking up the wrong tree is doing the wrong thing, because their beliefs or ideas are incorrect or mistaken.|
The police are barking up the wrong tree if they think Joey stole the car – he can’t drive!
|botch up/make a botch of||If you spoil something, or make a mess of it, by doing a job badly or incorrectly, you make a botch of it or you botch it up.|
Danny tried to assemble the new desk, but he made a botch of it.
eat humble pie
|If you eat crow, you admit that you were wrong about something and apologize.|
He had no option but to eat crow and admit that his analysis was wrong.
|eat one’s words||If you eat your words, you have to admit that your were mistaken in what you said.|
After predicting disastrous results, he had to eat his words when he saw the success of the new product.
|freudian slip||A Freudian slip is a mistake made by a speaker which is considered to reveal their true thoughts or feelings.|
So you got the job – I’m so sad … Sorry, I mean ‘glad’!
|himalayan blunder||If you stupidly make a serious mistake or error, you commit aHimalayan blunder.|
Apparently he lost his job because of a Himalayan blunder.
|overshoot the mark||If you make a mistake as a result of misjudging something (situation, distance, amount, etc.), you overshoot the mark.|
He overshot the mark by about 20%.
|see the error of your ways||When someone sees the error of their ways, they understand that what they are doing is wrong and accept to change their behaviour.|
He talked to a counsellor who tried to make him see the error of his ways.
|swallow one’s pride||If you swallow your pride, you accept something humiliating or embarrassing, for example having to admit that you are wrong, or that you have less knowledge that you thought.|
When Jill failed the exam, she had to swallow her pride and repeat the course.
|swallow your words||If you swallow your words, you admit that you were wrong.|
He said I’d never get the job, but he had to swallow his words when I was appointed.
|trial and error||Attempting to achieve a satisfactory result by testing and eliminating various methods until the best one is found is called trial and error.|
Some of the best cooks learn by trial and error.
|wide of the mark||If something is (or falls) wide off the mark, it is incorrect or inadequate, or it is not what was expected.|
The price offered was wide off the mark; it was sold for ten times more!