mis·​chief | \ ˈmis-chəf How to pronounce mischief (audio) , 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

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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 Among those beloved characters is Tom Hiddleston’s anti-hero Loki, otherwise known as the slippery and untrustworthy god of mischief. Ineye Komonibo, refinery29.com, 21 May 2021 The man, 37, who had not been formally charged as of Monday, is in custody at the Porter County Jail on preliminary charges of two felony counts of arson and one misdemeanor count of criminal mischief. Amy Lavalley, chicagotribune.com, 26 Apr. 2021 Two people were arrested in connection to vandalism on charges of criminal mischief, making graffiti, resisting arrest, and obstructing governmental administration, the New York Police Department told the Washington Examiner. Jake Dima, Washington Examiner, 23 Apr. 2021 Portland police arrested Emma Lightstone, 27, and Emily Keppler, 27, and charged both with one count each of criminal mischief. oregonlive, 20 Apr. 2021 In early April 2019, police issued a warrant to arrest Lee on a felony count of criminal mischief over the damage done to Shuffield’s pickup. Tom Steele, Dallas News, 24 Mar. 2021 Farrauto was initially arrested for two counts of criminal mischief in the third degree. Lucas Manfredi, Fox News, 9 Mar. 2021 On Monday, Russo, 50, of Swedesboro, N.J., was arrested in his home state and charged with one count of felony criminal mischief, Salem police said Wednesday in a news release. Washington Post, 4 Mar. 2021 Two men were arrested and charged with criminal mischief and battery. Fox News, 13 May 2021

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for mischief

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for mischief

Last Updated

9 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Mischief.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mischief. Accessed 18 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for mischief



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
somewhat formal : harmful behavior


mis·​chief | \ ˈmis-chəf How to pronounce mischief (audio) \

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


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