mis·chie·vous | \ˈmis-chə-vəs, ˈmish-; nonstandard mis-ˈchē-vē-əs, mish- \

Definition of mischievous 

1 : harmful, injurious mischievous gossip

2a : able or tending to cause annoyance, trouble, or minor injury

b : irresponsibly playful mischievous behavior

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Other Words from mischievous

mischievously adverb
mischievousness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for mischievous


bad, contrary, errant, froward, misbehaving, naughty


behaved, behaving, nice, orderly

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Mischievous vs. Mischievious: Usage Guide

A pronunciation \mis-ˈchē-vē-əs\ and a consequent spelling mischievious are of long standing: evidence for the spelling goes back to the 16th century. Our pronunciation files contain modern attestations ranging from dialect speakers to Herbert Hoover. But both the pronunciation and the spelling are still considered nonstandard.

Examples of mischievous in a Sentence

In passing the test of killing itself if infected, cancerous or genetically mischievous, a cell by definition dies. — Matt Ridley, Genome, 1999 … Pedro Martinez, could be found in the dugout, usually wearing sneakers instead of spikes, his tongue flying about as fiercely as one of his mischievous fastballs. — Tom Verducci, Sports Illustrated, 11 Oct. 1999 Setsu grew, too, from a mischievous, laughing little girl into a gay, willful, pretty girl. — Pearl S. Buck, The Big Wave, 1947 the children had been so mischievous that we had to pay the babysitter extra and then clean up the mess punished for their mischievous tricks on the neighbors
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Recent Examples on the Web

The Plaza has known many famous guests over the years, but perhaps none is as famous as Eloise, the mischievous six-year-old girl who lives at the hotel with her nanny, her dog Weenie, and her turtle Skipperdee. Elyssa Goodman, Town & Country, "9 Things You Should Know About Eloise," 16 June 2017 Then, depending on the night, a cavernous old Walmart in South Texas begins to echo with the sound of mischievous migrant children imitating the lows of pent-up cattle. BostonGlobe.com, "A migrant child’s days in detention included cleaning toilets," 14 July 2018 But this season, the audience will start to better understand how the fun, slightly mischievous, but good-hearted man who was Jimmy became Saul, who does so many despicable things. Patrick Ryan, USA TODAY, "Exclusive: 'Better Call Saul' gets ready to break bad in new Season 4 photos," 29 June 2018 These monkeys can be quite sneaky and a bit mischievous, often known for swiping sunglasses off unsuspecting heads or nabbing food from plates left unattended for mere seconds. Sarah Bowman, Indianapolis Star, "New Macaque monkeys at Indianapolis Zoo known for swimming, diving and photo-bombing," 22 May 2018 In one outstanding portion, Coco jumps on Puro, her meowing tiger pet, and runs across China's Great Wall to avoid all manner of enemies, including beautiful but mischievous dragon kites. Harold Goldberg, chicagotribune.com, "Classic games, lovingly reimagined in 'Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy'," 13 July 2018 Meanwhile, George is just staring at her in mischievous disbelief. Rachel Epstein, Marie Claire, "Prince George and Princess Charlotte Were the Real Stars of the Palace Flypast," 10 July 2018 At a public memorial service in a cavernous Boise Centre ballroom, the mischievous little girl who loved pink and purple, and daisies and roses, was remembered as an angel. Maria L. La Ganga, idahostatesman, "‘She came to us like a dream’: Hundreds attend memorial for young stabbing victim," 7 July 2018 When a mischievous monkey steals the cap off a cap seller’s head, the resulting chase is a delightful romp that leads right into the circus ring. SFChronicle.com, "Kids listings," 5 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'mischievous.' 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 mischievous

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for mischievous

see mischief

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Last Updated

12 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for mischievous

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

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More Definitions for mischievous



English Language Learners Definition of mischievous

: causing or tending to cause annoyance or minor harm or damage

: showing a playful desire to cause trouble

: intended to harm someone or someone's reputation


mis·chie·vous | \ˈmis-chə-vəs \

Kids Definition of mischievous

1 : causing or likely to cause minor injury or harm a mischievous puppy

2 : showing a spirit of irresponsible fun or playfulness The boy had a mischievous look on his face.

3 : harming or intended to do harm mischievous gossip

Other Words from mischievous

mischievously adverb

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