[mis-chuh-vuh s]
  1. maliciously or playfully annoying.
  2. causing annoyance, harm, or trouble.
  3. roguishly or slyly teasing, as a glance.
  4. harmful or injurious.

Origin of mischievous

1300–50; Middle English mischevous < Anglo-French meschevous. See mischief, -ous
Related formsmis·chie·vous·ly, adverbmis·chie·vous·ness, nounnon·mis·chie·vous, adjectivenon·mis·chie·vous·ly, adverbnon·mis·chie·vous·ness, nounun·mis·chie·vous, adjectiveun·mis·chie·vous·ly, adverb

Pronunciation note

The word mischievous has three syllables, mis-chie-vous, with the stress on the first syllable: [mis-chuh-vuh s] /ˈmɪs tʃə vəs/. There is a common tendency to shift the stress to the second syllable and say or write the word as if there were an extra letter i after the v, turning it into a four-syllable word: [mis-chee-vee-uh s] /mɪsˈtʃi vi əs/. These alterations of the pronunciation (and sometimes even the spelling) may occur in part because in many English words ie is pronounced like ee, as in chief, in part because many words end with [-ee-uh s] /-i əs/, spelled either -ious (as in devious ) or -eous (as in aqueous ), and in part because of confusion over where the second i in the word belongs. The Oxford English Dictionary reports that for some time in the evolution of the word—from about the sixteenth to the eighteenth century— mischievious was actually a fairly standard alternative spelling. Today, however, both the four-syllable spelling and the four-syllable pronunciation are generally regarded as nonstandard.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for mischievously

Contemporary Examples of mischievously

Historical Examples of mischievously

  • Do you not perceive that I am already overtaken by the Nymphs to whom you have mischievously exposed me?

  • "I thought the measure rather scant," she observed, mischievously.

    The Rise of Roscoe Paine

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • "And standing well in Cicero," added Uncle Johnny, mischievously.


    Jane Abbott

  • "Must have been a whale, Ben," answered Roger, mischievously.

    Dave Porter At Bear Camp

    Edward Stratemeyer

  • "And the pup-pup-pergola, too," added Patricia mischievously.

    Miss Pat at School

    Pemberton Ginther

British Dictionary definitions for mischievously


  1. inclined to acts of mischief
  2. teasing; slightly maliciousa mischievous grin
  3. causing or intended to cause harma mischievous plot
Derived Formsmischievously, adverbmischievousness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for mischievously



early 14c., "unfortunate, disastrous," probably from mischief + -ous. Sense of "playfully malicious or annoying" first recorded 1670s. Related: Mischievously; mischievousness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper