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mischievous definition


This page has two definitions of mischievous in English. Mischievous is an adjective. Examples of how to use mischievous in a sentence are shown. Also define these 0 related words and terms: .


Alternative forms


From Middle English myschevous, mischevous, from Anglo-Norman meschevous, from Old French meschever, from mes- (mis-) + chever (come to an end) (from chef (head)). Synchronically analyzable as mischief +‎ -ous.


  • IPA(key): /ˈmɪs.t͡ʃɪ.vəs/, /ˈmɪs.t͡ʃə.vəs/
  • (nonstandard) /mɪs.ˈt͡ʃiː.vi.əs/ (often along with the nonstandard spelling misch(i)evious)
  • (dated) /mɪs.ˈt͡ʃiː.vəs/
  • (file)


mischievous (comparative more mischievous, superlative most mischievous)

  1. Causing mischief; injurious.
    • 1793, Joseph Butler, The Analogy of Religion:
      ...; that good and bad actions at present are naturally rewarded and punished, not only as beneficial and mischievous to society, but also as virtuous and civious; ...
    • 1892, Henry Sidgwick, Outlines of the History of Ethics:
      On the whole, therefore, he concludes that the point of indulgence at which these self-passions or self-affections begin to be mischievous to the individual coincides with that at which they begin to be mischievous to society; ...
  2. Troublesome, cheeky, badly behaved.
    Matthew had a twin brother called Edward, who was always mischievous and badly behaved.

Usage notes

The spelling "misch(i)evious" and similar ones can be found since the 16th century, so the corresponding pronunciation is at least as old. But despite being common in a wide range of social classes today, these spellings and the corresponding pronunciation are still considered nonstandard and often viewed as incorrect.


Derived terms


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Dictionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Further reading