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 Everyone needs a helping hand every now and then – even a mischievous raccoon. Fox News, 15 July 2021 Coltrane’s improvising can be mischievous and dark, sometimes both at once. New York Times, 24 June 2021 As a child, Lola had been sturdy, brave, mischievous, while Eileen had been anxious and often ill. Sally Rooney, The New Yorker, 5 July 2021 Kids can have snowball fights with friendly trolls, hunt for the mischievous Snowgies and interact with beloved characters who stop by to join in the Frozen fun. Robin Raven, Forbes, 29 June 2021 Never the wallflower, the diva born Cherilyn Sarkisian, who turns 75 today, was in an especially mischievous mood that night in 1986. CNN, 20 May 2021 In her play, co-directed by Claire Simba with sound by Melanie Chen Cole, Mama plays a young girl who breaks the fourth wall to tell the audience about her twin brother, Tunde, a playful and mischievous boy who loves to climb trees and eat mangoes. San Diego Union-Tribune, 16 June 2021 With that, Emily and June share a mischievous look. Amanda Ostuni, EW.com, 16 June 2021 With his arms crossed against a black Jacksonville Jaguars polo shirt and his eyes hidden behind sunglasses, Tony Khan wore a mischievous but hardly intimidating grin in a recent promo video for his All Elite Wrestling. Hank Tucker, Forbes, 15 June 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

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

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Statistics for mischievous

Last Updated

28 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Mischievous.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mischievous. Accessed 2 Aug. 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

More from Merriam-Webster on mischievous

Nglish: Translation of mischievous for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of mischievous for Arabic Speakers


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