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 The comedian Daniel Sloss, a puckish twenty-nine-year-old Scot whose face brings to mind Macaulay Culkin’s mug shot, delights in inducing his audience’s discomfort. Eren Orbey, The New Yorker, "Daniel Sloss’s “X,” a Laddish Comic’s Reckoning with #MeToo," 8 Nov. 2019 Also returning is the original cast member Mitchell Jarvis, who is back overplaying the narrator, Lonny — a puckish employee of the Bourbon Room, the rock club where most of the action takes place. New York Times, "Review: ‘Rock of Ages’ Returns, Scaled Down but Big Hair Intact," 4 July 2019 The best have a puckish joyousness, even when the material is dark. Los Angeles Times, "Forget ‘Saturday Night Live.’ In TV’s latest sketch comedies, an old form learns new tricks," 31 July 2019 Before he was shot to death Sunday at the Gilroy Garlic Festival, Stephen Romero was a puckish 6-year-old boy with a bright smile. Rachel Swan, SFChronicle.com, "Family mourns ‘very loving’ 6-year-old San Jose boy killed at Gilroy Garlic Festival," 29 July 2019 With activists including Hoffman and Jerry Rubin, Mr. Krassner formed the puckish Youth International Party, whose members were known as Yippies. Harrison Smith, Washington Post, "Paul Krassner, countercultural ringmaster and leader of the Yippies, dies at 87," 22 July 2019 That kind of puckish, mildly subversive humor runs throughout the book, which is a calm and sagacious volume rendered somewhat somber by the news of his passing. Steve Donoghue, The Christian Science Monitor, "Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens’ memoir serves up calm wisdom," 17 July 2019 His unrelenting commitment to justice has left us a better nation.’’ With his white hair, bow tie, and puckish smile, Justice Stevens had the look of an avuncular professor. Mark Feeney, BostonGlobe.com, "John Paul Stevens, liberal leader on Supreme Court, dies at 99," 16 July 2019 But the winning, sympathetic Keaton and an enjoyably puckish Gleeson largely sell the contrived setup. Gary Goldstein, latimes.com, "Review: Diane Keaton and Brendan Gleeson add needed charm to ‘Hampstead’," 13 June 2019

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

Last Updated

14 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Puckish.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/puckishly. Accessed 21 November 2019.

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).


strength of mind

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Pass the Little Ribbons: A Pasta Word Quiz

  • pasta resembling wheels with spokes
  • Match the pasta to its meaning in English: Rotelle
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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