mischief

noun
mis·chief | \ˈmis-chəf, ˈmish-\

Definition of mischief 

1 : a specific injury or damage attributed to a particular agent the polished floor … often causes mischiefs — bruises, sprains, dislocations— Herbert Spencer

2 : a cause or source of harm, evil, or irritation especially : a person who causes mischief He's a real mischief to his family.

3a : action that annoys or irritates Halloween mischiefs

b : the quality or state of being mischievous : mischievousness had mischief in his eyes

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of mischief in a Sentence

It's hard to keep him out of mischief. the children claimed that setting off a firecracker was harmless mischief, but they got a lecture anyway

Recent Examples on the Web

Between them, the two face a variety of charges, including obstructing a police officer, assaulting a police officer and mischief. Amy B Wang, ajc, "Cameras capture every angle of Canadian couple's snack-throwing, ceiling-shattering arrest," 1 July 2018 Casado, 20 at the time, was eventually charged with battery and resisting an officer with violence, marijuana possession and criminal mischief. Charles Rabin, miamiherald, "Miami man sues after wild tussle with cops. Much of it was caught on body cam video.," 27 June 2018 Withdrawing from the deal could be a very good decision—provided it’s eventually replaced with a real nonproliferation regime and an arrangement that contains Iran and its proxies’ terror and mischief in the region. Daniel J. Arbess, WSJ, "Is Trump Following a Grand Mideast Strategy?," 5 June 2018 The news of Leiato's dismissal comes a month after he was arrested in Eugene and charged with theft, criminal trespassing, and criminal mischief. Tyson Alger, OregonLive.com, "Linebacker Fotu Leiato dismissed from the Oregon Ducks football team," 24 May 2018 Born to Mary Ruth Kowalski and Orrin W. Thompson, on a kitchen table in an Ellington farmhouse on Halloween night, Tommy spent his boyhood in mischief of fantastic finds. courant.com, "Orrin W. Thompson," 7 July 2018 Haley Heynderickx is a deceptively soft-spoken singer who writes songs that blend folk, rock and classical with a hint of punk expressiveness and mischief. Greg Kot, chicagotribune.com, "Haley Heynderickx is making this success thing seem like a happy accident — which it is," 5 July 2018 Between them, the two face a variety of charges, including obstructing a police officer, assaulting a police officer and mischief. Amy B Wang, ajc, "Cameras capture every angle of Canadian couple's snack-throwing, ceiling-shattering arrest," 1 July 2018 Between them, the two face a variety of charges, including obstructing a police officer, assaulting a police officer and mischief. Amy B Wang, Washington Post, "Cameras capture every angle of Canadian couple’s snack-throwing, ceiling-shattering arrest," 30 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'mischief.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of mischief

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for mischief

Middle English meschief, from Anglo-French, misfortune, hardship, from Old French meschever to come out badly, mes- + chief head, end — more at chief

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about mischief

Statistics for mischief

Last Updated

11 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for mischief

The first known use of mischief was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for mischief

mischief

noun

English Language Learners Definition of mischief

: behavior or activity that is annoying but that is not meant to cause serious harm or damage

: a playful desire to cause trouble

: harmful behavior

mischief

noun
mis·chief | \ˈmis-chəf \

Kids Definition of mischief

1 : behavior or activity that annoys or bothers but is not meant to cause serious harm It was a typical school plan to keep us out of mischief.— Richard Peck, A Year Down Yonder

2 : injury or damage caused by a person

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on mischief

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for mischief

Spanish Central: Translation of mischief

Nglish: Translation of mischief for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of mischief for Arabic Speakers

Comments on mischief

What made you want to look up mischief? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a state of commotion or excitement

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!