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

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web King Henry V, no longer the childish, mischievous Prince Hal, has become the brilliant leader, inspiring his men to perform a feat of greatness. New York Times, "Lost in 2020: Epic Shakespeare, and the Theater That Planned It," 29 Dec. 2020 Phasmophobia, an unassuming indie title from Kinetic Games, is all about getting to the bottom of a series of hauntings, whether from mischievous poltergeists or vengeful spirits. Brittany Vincent, Wired, "The Biggest Video Game Surprise Hits of 2020," 24 Dec. 2020 An animal kingdom crouches across the lawn: a dog park with mischievous feline interlopers, Cowboy Frosty and his longhorns, arctic snow creatures in tutus and a barn with chicks, pigs and sheep. Sharon Grigsby, Dallas News, "Why the Frisco home just filmed for ‘Great Christmas Light Fight’ is more than a viral sensation," 22 Dec. 2020 Many basketball geeks believed Stevens must have taken his play from Europe, where misdirections and mischievous actions are more common, especially since the legendary Serbian coach Zeljko Obradovic runs a similar version. Ben Cohen, WSJ, "The Case of the NBA’s Most Stolen Play," 21 Dec. 2020 Senior Republicans in Georgia and Ohio are preparing for mischievous forces loyal to President Trump to mount primary challenges against Govs. David M. Drucker, Washington Examiner, "GOP governors ready for Trump attacks in 2022," 18 Dec. 2020 Even with the sleepless nights and sometimes mischievous behaviors, the rewards of adopting a dog are so worth it — chewed up shoes, accidents and all. Traci Howerton, NOLA.com, "Bringing home a new puppy can be a challenge, but it's one that's full of joy," 17 Dec. 2020 Almost instantaneously, our Ishmael proves herself to be aggressively funny, ruthlessly pithy, low-key poetic and high-def mischievous — all within the space of seven seconds and 14 words. Washington Post, "Rico Nasty will show you what mischief sounds like," 10 Dec. 2020 Visit Wolf Creek, 6100 Ridge Road in Sharon Center, during open hours to find the 13 mischievous Yule lads hidden along the trail. Mary Jane Brewer, cleveland, "December is the perfect time to get outdoors and enjoy Medina County’s parks," 11 Dec. 2020

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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Time Traveler for mischievous

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for mischievous

Last Updated

17 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Mischievous.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mischievous. Accessed 20 Jan. 2021.

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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

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