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Mislooked vs. Overlooked: What's the Difference?

By Harlon Moss & Janet White || Updated on May 21, 2024
"Mislooked" refers to looking at something incorrectly or misunderstanding it, while "overlooked" means failing to notice or ignore something.

Key Differences

"Mislooked" is a less common term that implies looking at something incorrectly or misinterpreting what is seen. It suggests that an error occurred in the process of observing or examining something. "Overlooked," on the other hand, is a common term that means failing to notice something, either by accident or negligence. It often implies that something important was missed or ignored.
While "mislooked" indicates an incorrect perception or interpretation, "overlooked" suggests a failure to see or consider something altogether. Mislooking involves seeing but misunderstanding, whereas overlooking involves not seeing or acknowledging something at all.
In terms of usage, "overlooked" is widely recognized and used in various contexts to denote neglect or omission, whereas "mislooked" is rarely used and might be unfamiliar to many English speakers.

Comparison Chart


Incorrectly observed or misunderstood
Failed to notice or ignore


Rarely used
Commonly used


Error in perception
Neglect or omission


Missing or not noticing


Specific, less frequent
General, widely applicable

Mislooked and Overlooked Definitions


Incorrectly observed.
She mislooked the map and took the wrong turn.


Ignored or neglected.
The manager overlooked the contributions of his team.


Misunderstood due to incorrect observation.
The student mislooked the question and answered incorrectly.


Missed due to inattention.
The deadline was overlooked, causing delays.


Misinterpreted what was seen.
He mislooked the instructions and assembled it wrongly.


Failed to notice.
She overlooked the typo in the document.


Viewed something inaccurately.
I mislooked the sign, thinking it was for a different street.


Not seen or considered.
Important facts were overlooked in the investigation.


Seen but not correctly understood.
They mislooked the details of the contract.


Failed to acknowledge.
He overlooked her achievements during the meeting.


Simple past tense and past participle of mislook


To look over or at from a higher place
We overlooked the valley from the cliff.


To afford a view over
The tower overlooks the sea.


To fail to notice or consider; miss
Even the editor overlooked this error.


To ignore deliberately or indulgently; disregard
I'll overlook that remark if you leave now.


To look over; examine
Overlook a manuscript for errors.


To manage; supervise
Overlook farm hands.


An elevated place that affords an extensive view
A scenic overlook.


Missed, unnoticed.


Simple past tense and past participle of overlook


Not taken into account;
His retirement was not allowed to go unmarked


Is "mislooked" commonly used?

No, "mislooked" is a rare term and not commonly used in everyday language.

What does "overlooked" mean?

"Overlooked" means to fail to notice or ignore something.

What does "mislooked" mean?

"Mislooked" means to look at something incorrectly or misunderstand it.

Is "mislooked" formal or informal?

"Mislooked" is formal but rarely used, making it less familiar in any context.

Can "overlooked" imply negligence?

Yes, "overlooked" can imply negligence or unintentional omission.

Is "overlooked" commonly used?

Yes, "overlooked" is a widely used term in various contexts.

Does "mislooked" suggest an error in perception?

Yes, "mislooked" suggests an error in how something was seen or understood.

Does "overlooked" suggest something was missed?

Yes, "overlooked" indicates that something was missed or not considered.

Can "mislooked" imply misunderstanding?

Yes, "mislooked" often implies a misunderstanding due to incorrect observation.

Can "mislooked" be used in academic writing?

It can be, but due to its rarity, it might confuse readers.

Can "mislooked" and "overlooked" be used interchangeably?

No, they have distinct meanings and should be used in their correct contexts.

Does "overlooked" have a synonym?

Synonyms for "overlooked" include "missed," "ignored," and "neglected."

Can "overlooked" be used in academic writing?

Yes, "overlooked" is suitable for academic writing and clear in meaning.

Is "overlooked" appropriate for professional use?

Yes, "overlooked" is appropriate and commonly used in professional settings.

Does "mislooked" have a synonym?

A synonym could be "misinterpreted," depending on the context.

Is there a regional preference for using "mislooked"?

No, "mislooked" is rarely used in any English-speaking region.

Which term is better understood by most people?

"Overlooked" is better understood by most people due to its common usage.

Is there a regional preference for using "overlooked"?

No, "overlooked" is widely understood and used across English-speaking regions.

Is "overlooked" formal or informal?

"Overlooked" can be used in both formal and informal contexts.

Is "mislooked" appropriate for professional use?

It can be used professionally, but it's advisable to use more common terms for clarity.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Co-written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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