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 Focusing on a work assignment means leaving children to their own mischievous devices—or, in the case of toddlers, to interrupt you every 30 seconds. Yael Chatav Schonbrun And Elizabeth Corey, WSJ, "Work-Life Conflict Can’t Be Solved—and That’s a Good Thing," 27 June 2020 His sparkling wit always accompanied a mischievous twinkle in his eye. Sara M Moniuszko, USA TODAY, "Ian Holm, star of 'Lord of the Rings' and 'Alien', dead at 88," 19 June 2020 For example, some of the young gorillas, known for their mischievous antics, like to play, wrap banana leaves around their heads and roll down the hill, right at the viewing spot frequented by guests, who’d react with laughter and pointing. Lisa A. Beach, Condé Nast Traveler, "How Walt Disney World Is Caring for Its 10,000 Animals While Parks Are Closed," 15 June 2020 But heDench noticed that after a few days, the tape tended to either disappear or get repurposed by mischievous passersby; one jokester wrapped caution tape around the lap of a nude female sculpture. Michael Hardy, Wired, "The Webs of Covid-Related Caution Tape Across London," 7 June 2020 His character was elaborately polite to the parents in his orbit, but would transform into a mischievous bad boy when the adults were out of sight. Mary Colurso | Mcolurso@al.com, al, "Ken Osmond, who played Eddie Haskell on ‘Leave it to Beaver,’ has died," 19 May 2020 Capturing every sweet, mischievous expression that crosses a child’s face is made easy by the smartphone camera always within reach. Erin Barnett, The Atlantic, "Hidden Portraits of Motherhood," 10 May 2020 Cadore, an expert at cutting the baseball to get an edge, was a mischievous native Brooklynite and close friend of Casey Stengel, whom the Dodgers had dealt for ace pitcher Burleigh Grimes before the 1918 season. Dan Mclaughlin, National Review, "Baseball’s Longest Game, 100 Years Ago Today," 1 May 2020 Back in 2018, ; and after recovering from her surprise, Anne took it in stride, laughing along with her mischievous elder brother. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Watch Princess Anne's Reaction to Being Mistaken for Prince Charles in This Hilarious Video," 8 Apr. 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

3 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Mischievous.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mischievous. Accessed 12 Aug. 2020.

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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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