Share this entry

Share this page

mischievous

Line breaks: mis¦chiev|ous
Pronunciation: /ˈmɪstʃɪvəs
 
/

Definition of mischievous in English:

adjective

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.
Synonyms
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.
Synonyms
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

Origin

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.

Usage

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

Derivatives

mischievously

1
adverb
Example sentences
  • In fact, he sometimes smiles mischievously when remembering escapades from his wild years.
  • When her father turned up at the school gate in a hired Aston Martin recently, he mischievously asked if this mode of transport was cool enough for her.
  • It was fine not being able to talk, he says mischievously.

mischievousness

2
noun
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!

Words that rhyme with mischievous

Selvas • grievous

Definition of mischievous in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day emulous
Pronunciation: ˈɛmjʊləs
adjective
seeking to emulate someone or something