mischief

noun mis·chief \ ˈmis-chəf , ˈmish- \
Updated on: 13 Dec 2017

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.
3 a : action that annoys or irritates
  • Halloween mischiefs
b : the quality or state of being mischievous : mischievousness
  • had mischief in his eyes

Examples of mischief in a Sentence

  1. It's hard to keep him out of mischief.

  2. the children claimed that setting off a firecracker was harmless mischief, but they got a lecture anyway

Recent Examples of mischief from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of mischief

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


MISCHIEF Defined for English Language Learners

mischief

noun

Definition of mischief for English Language Learners

  • : 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 Defined for Kids

mischief

noun mis·chief \ ˈmis-chəf \

Definition of mischief for Students

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


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