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 Porter is being held at the Bristol Bay Detention Facility on charges of burglary, vehicle theft, criminal mischief and violating conditions of release on a previous arrest, police said. Tess Williams, Anchorage Daily News, "Fisherman steals a King Salmon fire truck, drives to bar with emergency lights on," 29 June 2020 Russia still makes mischief, but less often, since a more coherent West gives it fewer opportunities. The Economist, "Time to rediscover statesmanship Three future scenarios for the UN," 20 June 2020 One is being charged with criminal mischief, a felony, and is in custody at the Montgomery County Juvenile Detention Center. Jose R. Gonzalez, Houston Chronicle, "Teenage girls charged in $300K Montgomery ISD vandalism case," 11 June 2020 Mobile police charged Pugh, 21, with inciting a riot and second-degree criminal mischief, which are both misdemeanors. al, "Mobile demonstrator now facing federal charges," 9 June 2020 Police also charged three men and a woman from Montgomery with felony criminal mischief for toppling the statue outside Lee High. Anna Beahm | Abeahm@al.com, al, "Protests, monuments, rubber bullets, arrests: The week that reshaped Alabama," 13 June 2020 He was charged Tuesday with misdemeanor assault, criminal mischief, harassment and menacing. NBC News, "NYPD lieutenant apologizes to colleagues for kneeling during George Floyd protest," 12 June 2020 Three people were arrested on felony criminal mischief charges early Friday morning after police say they were caught spray-painting the King Louis XVI statue in downtown Louisville. Jonathan Bullington, The Courier-Journal, "3 arrested after downtown Louisville's King Louis XVI statue vandalized," 12 June 2020 He is scheduled to be arraigned in Brooklyn Criminal Court on charges of assault, criminal mischief, harassment and menacing, Brooklyn district attorney Erik Gonzalez said in a statement. Mark Morales, Elizabeth Joseph And Brynn Gingras, CNN, "A New York City police officer who shoved a protester to the pavement is arrested," 9 June 2020

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

2 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Mischief.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mischief. Accessed 11 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for mischief


How to pronounce mischief (audio)

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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