adjective mis·chie·vous \ ˈmis-chə-vəs , ˈmish- ; nonstandard mis-ˈchē-vē-əs , mish- \
|Updated on: 6 Jul 2018

Definition of mischievous

1 : harmful, injurious
  • mischievous gossip
2 a : able or tending to cause annoyance, trouble, or minor injury
b : irresponsibly playful
  • mischievous behavior





mischievous vs. mischievious

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

  1. In passing the test of killing itself if infected, cancerous or genetically mischievous, a cell by definition dies. —Matt RidleyGenome1999
  2. … 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 VerducciSports Illustrated11 Oct. 1999
  3. Setsu grew, too, from a mischievous, laughing little girl into a gay, willful, pretty girl. —Pearl S. BuckThe Big Wave1947
  4. the children had been so mischievous that we had to pay the babysitter extra and then clean up the mess

  5. punished for their mischievous tricks on the neighbors

Recent Examples of mischievous from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of mischievous

MISCHIEVOUS Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of mischievous for English Language Learners

  • : 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

MISCHIEVOUS Defined for Kids


adjective mis·chie·vous \ ˈmis-chə-vəs \

Definition of mischievous for Students

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



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