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

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
Recent Examples on the Web And when Twitter resisted his overtures, Mr. Musk pressured the company with a string of tweets — some mischievous, some barbed and all impulsive. New York Times, 3 May 2022 The book, like the leopard- and zebra-skin sofas that Brown bought to decorate her New York apartments, was mischievous, erotic, and a little sinister. Anna Holmes, The New Yorker, 31 Jan. 2022 In The Northman, a new historical epic from filmmaker Robert Eggers, Viking carnage flows with an elegant, sometimes mischievous sense of showmanship. Jesse Hassenger, The Week, 22 Apr. 2022 In this mischievous dark comedy, an employee at a cleaning products company accidentally commits a messily bloody crime – and must figure out how to cover her tracks with the help of her young trainee. Rebecca Rubin, Variety, 19 Apr. 2022 Pranks are mischievous practical jokes played on unsuspecting victims. Stanislav Budnitsky, The Conversation, 19 Apr. 2022 When the duo took their places in the East Room, the act starring the cooler, younger politician and the knowing, slightly mischievous elder statesman began. New York Times, 5 Apr. 2022 Both on the show and in his stand-up, Carmichael had cultivated a persona as a clever but mischievous thinker with curveball takes on hot-button issues — someone who didn’t have all the answers, but certainly a lot of them. Washington Post, 28 Mar. 2022 There are four young Athenian lovers, a mischievous fairy, a quarreling fairy king and queen and a troupe of truly awful amateur actors and the hilarity that ensues when all of their stories diverge. Annie Alleman, chicagotribune.com, 6 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of mischievous

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for mischievous

see mischief

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

Dictionary Entries Near mischievous




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for mischievous

Last Updated

17 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Mischievous.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mischievous. Accessed 24 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for mischievous


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

More from Merriam-Webster on mischievous

Nglish: Translation of mischievous for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of mischievous for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Which Word Does Not Belong?

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
True or False

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

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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