mis·​chie·​vous | \ ˈmis-chə-vəs How to pronounce mischievous (audio) , ˈmish-; nonstandard mis-ˈchē-vē-əs How to pronounce mischievous (audio) , 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 The Cat in the Hat focuses on a pair of very bored siblings who find their mundane day interrupted by a mischievous cat. Time, "Here Are the 10 Most Borrowed Books of All Time at the New York Public Library," 13 Jan. 2020 Inside the campaign, Mr. Mauldin, 30, is seen as a rising star, prized for his mischievous sense of humor and digital know-how, according to two people familiar with the operation. Matthew Rosenberg, New York Times, "Trump Consultant Is Trolling Democrats With Biden Site That Isn’t Biden’s," 29 June 2019 Inside the campaign, Mauldin, 30, is seen as a rising star, prized for his mischievous sense of humor and digital know-how, according to two people familiar with the operation. Matthew Rosenberg, BostonGlobe.com, "Trump consultant is trolling Democrats with Biden site that isn’t Biden’s," 29 June 2019 One particularly mischievous bird almost left me upended. Matt Wyatt, ExpressNews.com, "Pheasant paradise in Kansas," 2 Jan. 2020 Of course, there is only the faintest connection between nursery tales and Chinese factories churning out Christmas decorations: no elves with pointed ears nor mischievous imps assisting Santa Claus. François Lévêque, Quartz, "The international sustainability, economics, and history of Christmas trees, explained," 21 Dec. 2019 Swift plays one of his charges, bad girl Bombalurina, who purrs his song, and her teaming with Elba as a couple of mischievous critters is quite a sight. Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, "Review: All-star 'Cats' stays out of the litter box with Taylor Swift and enchanting absurdity," 19 Dec. 2019 McElhatton was wry and funny, sometimes in a mischievous way, and would get Tokuda to break character and show her warmth. Peter Hartlaub, SFChronicle.com, "A tribute to Wendy Tokuda, Dave McElhatton and the golden age of TV news," 13 Dec. 2019 Check out the stills from the movie below, which also includes the return of Anna Cathcart as Lara Jean's mischievous younger sister Kitty and John Corbett as their father Dr. Covey. Gabe Bergado, Teen Vogue, ""To All the Boys" Sequel "P.S. I Still Love You" First Look Photos," 13 Dec. 2019

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

Time Traveler for mischievous

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for mischievous

Last Updated

19 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Mischievous.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mischievous. Accessed 21 January 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for mischievous


How to pronounce mischievous (audio) How to pronounce mischievous (audio)

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 How to pronounce mischievous (audio) \

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).


good-natured easy friendliness

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Intact Latin Quiz

  • roman tablet
  • What did focus mean in Latin?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

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!