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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from mischievous

mischievously adverb
mischievousness noun

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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

There’s something mischievous about all this runaround, and it’s absolutely given the show its own unique identity. Bryan Bishop, The Verge, "The Walking Dead has condemned itself for all time," 5 Nov. 2018 Among the clips from the violent ends of the finale is what appears to be a new shot of Ed Harris (AKA the Man in Black, AKA William), sitting in a Westworld bar looking bloodied, but still very much alive and mischievous as ever. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "I Went to Westworld and I Think I Found Some Clues About Season 2," 21 July 2017 The hole is being controlled by mischievous raccoons that are hungry for trash (and by the player). Laura Hudson, The Verge, "Donut County is a game about swallowing Los Angeles and realizing you’re an asshole," 1 Sep. 2018 The two become friends and eventually the mischievous Stitch becomes a vital part of Lilo’s family. Kara Nesvig, Teen Vogue, ""Lilo & Stitch" Is Officially Returning to Netflix in September," 21 Aug. 2018 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

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.

See More

First Known Use of mischievous

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for mischievous

see mischief

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about mischievous

Share mischievous

Statistics for mischievous

Last Updated

7 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for mischievous

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on mischievous

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


a nest or breeding place

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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