Definition of mischievous in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈmɪstʃɪvəs/


1Causing or showing a fondness for causing trouble in a playful way: mischievous children a mischievous grin
More example sentences
  • I can be playful, mischievous, or silly depending on how you look at things.
  • He phoned a pal who told him to try to ease the mischievous kitten from under the machine using cooking oil.
  • This politician is charming and likeable but carries the air of a bit of a mischievous rogue.
naughty, bad, badly behaved, misbehaving, disobedient, troublesome, vexatious, full of mischief;
rascally, roguish, prankish, delinquent
playful, teasing, wicked, impish, puckish, roguish, waggish, arch
2(Of an action or statement) causing or intended to cause harm or trouble: a mischievous allegation for which there is not a shred of evidence
More example sentences
  • He gave a mischievous response when asked if he will continue to speak his mind if he feels circumstances demand that.
  • This practice of profiling is mischievous and harmful to a tolerant and developing society.
  • At some point, the paper will do something mischievous that prompts questions to be asked of its management.
malicious, malevolent, hostile, spiteful, bitter, venomous, poisonous, evil-intentioned, ill-natured, evil, baleful, vindictive, vengeful, vitriolic, rancorous, malign, malignant, pernicious, mean, nasty, harmful, hurtful, destructive, wounding, cruel, unkind, defamatory
informal bitchy, catty
literary malefic, maleficent


Mischievous is a three-syllable word; it should not be pronounced with four syllables, as if it were spelled mischievious mɪsˈtʃiːvɪəs.



Pronunciation: /ˈmɪstʃɪvəsnəs/
Example sentences
  • We grew up together and I knew him to be a smart, funny and outgoing guy - though oftentimes very troubled, with a streak of mischievousness.
  • According to Prince Charles, the Queen Mother had an ‘utterly irresistible mischievousness of spirit’; ‘she saw the funny side and we laughed until we cried’.
  • Yes, the children are naughty too, as one would expect all over the world I guess, yet here I find that children are still children expressing nothing more than an innocent and adventurous mischievousness!


Middle English: from Anglo-Norman French meschevous, from Old French meschever 'come to an unfortunate end' (see mischief). The early sense was 'unfortunate or calamitous', later 'having harmful effects'; the sense 'playfully troublesome' dates from the late 17th century.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: mis¦chiev|ous

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