puck·​ish | \ ˈpə-kish How to pronounce puckish (audio) \

Definition of puckish

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from puckish

puckishly adverb
puckishness noun

Did You Know?

We know Puck as "that merry wanderer of the night," the shape-changing, maiden-frightening, mischief-sowing henchman to the king of the fairies in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. The Bard drew on English folklore in casting his character, but the traditional Puck was more malicious than the Shakespearean imp; he was an evil spirit or demon. In medieval England, this nasty hobgoblin was known as the puke or pouke, names related to the Old Norse pŪki, meaning "devil." But it was the Bard's characterization that stuck, and by the time the adjective puckish started appearing regularly in English texts in the late 1800s the association was one of impishness, not evil.

Examples of puckish in a Sentence

He had a puckish smile on his face. he takes a puckish delight in teasing her about her love life, or lack thereof
Recent Examples on the Web Several year ago, in a winsome but puckish exchange between two great friends and philosophical sparring partners, Justice Antonin Scalia and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, debated which was more important: the Constitution or the Bill of Rights. Tod Worner, National Review, "A Dangerous Imbalance: Restoring Order to a Republic in Crisis," 25 Oct. 2020 Her quirky sensibility often recalls Billy Collins, the former U.S. poet laureate whose puckish eye for the comically absurd is an abiding reminder that poetry needn’t always be a somber exercise. Danny Heitman, The Christian Science Monitor, "Barbara Kingsolver’s poems gently mock how-to books," 20 Oct. 2020 So he was primed to play the puckish Abbie Hoffman. Maureen Dowd, New York Times, "Sacha Baron Cohen: This Time He’s Serious," 17 Oct. 2020 Ancient deities endure in many forms, as two artists observe in the show’s most puckish offerings. Mark Jenkins, Washington Post, "In the galleries: Exhibit upends male-centric myths, legends and folklore," 16 Oct. 2020 Another neighbor and friend, Joey Smith, a choreographer and teacher, remembered Mr. Wolf as puckish and oblivious of his age. Glenn Thrush, New York Times, "George Wolf, Caring Neighbor Who Glimpsed the Face of Evil, Dies at 92," 1 Sep. 2020 If nothing else, Enemy of All Mankind graphically proves that real pirates had nothing in common with puckish swashbucklers such as Errol Flynn and Johnny Depp. Howard Schneider, National Review, "When Piracy Threatened to Destroy the East India Company," 15 Aug. 2020 The puckish young artist took the opportunity of being far from puritanical America to study nude models in Rome and learn from a master sculptor willing to take her under his wing. Tana Wojczuk, refinery29.com, "Almost 200 Years Ago, This Queer, All-Women Art Collective Took The World By Storm," 6 Aug. 2020 In the show, Mr. Ed had a puckish sense of humor but abstained from alcohol and no longer had a streak of nihilism. Rachel Syme, The New Yorker, "The “BoJack Horseman” Finale: A Hollywoo Reckoning," 5 Feb. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'puckish.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of puckish

1831, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for puckish

puck entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about puckish

Time Traveler for puckish

Time Traveler

The first known use of puckish was in 1831

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast about puckish

Statistics for puckish

Cite this Entry

“Puckish.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/puckish. Accessed 25 Jan. 2021.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for puckish


How to pronounce puckish (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of puckish

literary : having or showing a desire to cause trouble in a playful or harmless way

More from Merriam-Webster on puckish

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for puckish

Comments on puckish

What made you want to look up puckish? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Slippery Words Quiz—Changing with the Times

  • ducreux self portrait yawning
  • What is an earlier meaning of nice?
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!