- conduct or activity that playfully causes petty annoyance.
- a tendency or disposition to tease, vex, or annoy.
- a vexatious or annoying action.
- harm or trouble, especially as a result of an agent or cause.
- an injury or evil caused by a person or other agent or cause.
- a cause or source of harm, evil, or annoyance.
- the devil.
Origin of mischief
SynonymsSee more synonyms for mischief on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for mischief
His entry takes the reader through a day of mischief with Bast, the somewhat mysterious creature from the Chronicles series.Inside George R.R. Martin’s New Book (Mild Buzzkill: Only One Story is Martin’s)
June 17, 2014
The move apparently was to make sure none of the invitees was up to any mischief.Up to Speed: All You Need to Know About the Thai Coup
May 27, 2014
Most of the time, the mischief is buried deep in the spreadsheets.Powerbroker Richard Ravitch Thinks New York Might Be Doomed
April 26, 2014
On the mountain, as on the planet, the god of mischief will continue to rule.At Davos 2014, The Gods Of Mischief Rule
January 21, 2014
Probably the greatest Halloween prank ever took place 75 years ago on Mischief Night.When Mars Attacked 75 Years Ago—And Everyone Believed It
October 29, 2013
She was smiling now, and he caught a gleam of mischief in her eyes.Viviette
William J. Locke
You are like two kittens, and might be in mischief or danger before you knew.
And yet is talk a less evil than the mischief of mere experimenters.
She had thought of sending a telegram, but saw that that might do mischief.
That scoundrel Corney has been about some mischief—damn him!
- wayward but not malicious behaviour, usually of children, that causes trouble, irritation, etc
- a playful inclination to behave in this way or to tease or disturb
- injury or harm caused by a person or thing
- a person, esp a child, who is mischievous
- a source of trouble, difficulty, etcfloods are a great mischief to the farmer
Word Origin and History for mischief
c.1300, "evil condition, misfortune, need, want," from Old French meschief "misfortune, harm, trouble; annoyance, vexation" (12c., Modern French méchef), verbal noun from meschever "come or bring to grief, be unfortunate" (opposite of achieve), from mes- "badly" (see mis- (2)) + chever "happen, come to a head," from Vulgar Latin *capare "head," from Latin caput "head" (see capitulum). Meaning "harm or evil considered as the work of some agent or due to some cause" is from late 15c. Sense of "playful malice" first recorded 1784.
Mischief Night in 19c. England was the eve of May Day and of Nov. 5, both major holidays, and perhaps the original point was pilfering for the next day's celebration and bonfire; but in Yorkshire, Scotland, and Ireland the night was Halloween. The useful Middle English verb mischieve (early 14c.) has, for some reason, fallen from currency.
Idioms and Phrases with mischief
see make mischief.