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 Evans, 41, was remembered for his dedication to country, love for his job and his mischievous sense of humor. Mary Clare Jalonick And Kevin Freking, Star Tribune, "Biden eulogizes slain officer as Capitol Police mourn again," 13 Apr. 2021 Greene points out that Harden also had a mischievous side and a penchant for making the players laugh. Scott Springer, The Enquirer, "Mariemont lacrosse player helps raise money for ALS for longtime assistant Graham Harden," 10 Apr. 2021 Tucci shines bright in this 1999 adaptation, making the mischievous-sprite role somehow even more memorable. Emma Specter, Vogue, "Ranking Stanley Tucci's Most Beloved Roles," 16 Apr. 2021 That spindly and sinister thing that had picked me up was a mischievous, magical Irish leprechaun. David Browne, Rolling Stone, "‘You Met a Leprechaun’: Read Rickie Lee Jones’ Surreal Van Morrison Meetup in Book Excerpt," 12 Apr. 2021 This, Heynen's latest book, focuses as its title suggests on the youngest of his archetypal figures of rural boyhood, a shapeshifting and mercurial personage who is by turns frolicsome and introspective, mischievous and vulnerable. Jim Heynen, Star Tribune, "Review: 'The Youngest Boy,' by Jim Heynen," 9 Apr. 2021 Instead, people chose to focus on his mischievous personality, while others pointed out that his death reminded people that members of the royal family are humans too. Saphora Smith, NBC News, "Crowds gather in London to mourn Prince Philip, dead at 99," 9 Apr. 2021 Most of the starters are some mix of playful, mischievous, lovable and whatever else, but Snivy is...aloof? Dave Thier, Forbes, "‘Pokemon GO’ Snivy Community Day: Start/End Times, Date, Research, Move, Bonus And Shiny," 9 Apr. 2021 Clearly Bush Hager has a pretty mischievous daughter! Perri Ormont Blumberg, Southern Living, "Jenna Bush Hager's Seven-Year-Old Daughter Mila Really Got Her Mom for April Fools' Day," 7 Apr. 2021

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

5 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Mischievous.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mischievous. Accessed 11 May. 2021.

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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 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

Comments on mischievous

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