- maliciously or playfully annoying.
- causing annoyance, harm, or trouble.
- roguishly or slyly teasing, as a glance.
- harmful or injurious.
Origin of mischievous
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 mischievousness
To keep himself loose and pliable and imbued with the mischievousness that nourished him, Paul often resorted to practical jokes.My Pal Paul Newman
A. E. Hotchner
March 19, 2010
He suspected that the chief emotions he inspired were curiosity and mischievousness.Quaint Courtships
But the mischievousness of Utilitarianism does not stop here.Old-Fashioned Ethics and Common-Sense Metaphysics
William Thomas Thornton
Pranks they seem to us, but we may be sure there is some method in their mischievousness.Thunder and Lightning
Green parrots owe their unpopularity to their mischievousness and their noisiness.Birds of the Plains
Mischievously and mischievousness are also accented on the first syllable.Every-Day Errors of Speech
L. P. Meredith
- inclined to acts of mischief
- teasing; slightly maliciousa mischievous grin
- causing or intended to cause harma mischievous plot
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 mischievousness
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper