mis·​chie·​vous | \ ˈmis-chə-vəs How to pronounce mischievous (audio) , ˈmish-; nonstandard mis-ˈchē-vē-əs How to pronounce mischievous (audio) , mish- \

Essential Meaning of mischievous

1 : causing or tending to cause annoyance or minor harm or damage a mischievous puppy/child
2 : showing a playful desire to cause trouble mischievous behavior a mischievous smile
3 : intended to harm someone or someone's reputation mischievous gossip a mischievous lie

Full Definition of mischievous

1 : harmful, injurious mischievous gossip
2a : able or tending to cause annoyance, trouble, or minor injury
b : irresponsibly playful mischievous behavior

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
See More
Recent Examples on the Web Perhaps not the Road Runner, but certainly a mischievous — and very real — roadrunner who secretly traveled nearly 3,000 miles from Las Vegas to Westbrook, Maine, last week in the back of a moving van. Washington Post, 19 Nov. 2021 Max Mercer, a mischievous and resourceful young boy, has been left behind while his family is in Japan for the holidays. Mark Heim | Mheim@al.com, al, 12 Nov. 2021 The debate over nomenclature—why, critical race theory isn’t even taught in third grade!—is mischievous and meant to obscure. Peggy Noonan, WSJ, 11 Nov. 2021 Alone, the reimagining of the classic adventure comedy centres on mischievous young boy Max Mercer, who's left behind while his family is in Japan for the holidays. Alicia Vrajlal, refinery29.com, 28 Oct. 2021 But his wife, the goddess Juno, was able to peer past this veil and reveal his mischievous behavior. Katrina Miller, Scientific American, 28 Oct. 2021 Hinds, who could snag his first Oscar nomination for his work as Buddy’s mischievous grandfather, believes that because Branagh made such a specific story, one steeped in the particulars of his childhood, the saga somehow became more universal. Brent Lang, Variety, 27 Oct. 2021 Eight-year-old Alice and her mischievous brother Peter journey to London to sell a treasured heirloom. Travis Bean, Forbes, 24 Oct. 2021 Another Eternal, Sprite appears to be a mischievous tween but is actually centuries old and has been trapped looking like a child. NBC News, 24 Oct. 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.

See More

First Known Use of mischievous

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for mischievous

see mischief

Learn More About mischievous

Time Traveler for mischievous

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near mischievous




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for mischievous

Last Updated

25 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Mischievous.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mischievous. Accessed 2 Dec. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for mischievous


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


Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet pasta spelling help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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