mis·​chie·​vous ˈmis-chə-vəs How to pronounce mischievous (audio)
mis-ˈchē-vē-əs How to pronounce mischievous (audio)
: harmful, injurious
mischievous gossip
: able or tending to cause annoyance, trouble, or minor injury
: irresponsibly playful
mischievous behavior
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
Recent Examples on the Web And in his outings so far as the Fifteenth Doctor, Gatwa exudes a more mischievous, youthful energy. Tracy Brown, Los Angeles Times, 8 May 2024 As Lureen — rodeo star, businesswoman, and unsuspecting wife of Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal) — Hathaway has a tricky balance to strike: warm and mischievous early on, cold and ruthless later as Jack grows more distant. Chris Bellamy and Stephanie Kaloi, EW.com, 2 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for mischievous 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'mischievous.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


see mischief

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near mischievous

Cite this Entry

“Mischievous.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mischievous. Accessed 3 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


mis·​chie·​vous ˈmis-chə-vəs How to pronounce mischievous (audio) ˈmish- How to pronounce mischievous (audio)
: harming or intended to do harm
mischievous gossip
: causing or tending to cause minor injury or annoyance
a mischievous puppy
: showing a spirit of mischief
mischievous behavior
mischievously adverb
mischievousness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on mischievous

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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