[ mis-chuh-vuhs ]
See synonyms for mischievous on Thesaurus.com
  1. maliciously or playfully annoying.

  2. causing annoyance, harm, or trouble.

  1. roguishly or slyly teasing, as a glance.

  2. harmful or injurious.

Origin of mischievous

1300–50; Middle English mischevous<Anglo-French meschevous.See mischief, -ous

pronunciation note For mischievous

The word mischievous has three syllables, mis-chie-vous, with the stress on the first syllable: [mis-chuh-vuhs]. /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-uhs]. /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-uhs], /-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.

Other words from mischievous

  • mis·chie·vous·ly, adverb
  • mis·chie·vous·ness, noun
  • non·mis·chie·vous, adjective
  • non·mis·chie·vous·ly, adverb
  • non·mis·chie·vous·ness, noun
  • un·mis·chie·vous, adjective
  • un·mis·chie·vous·ly, adverb

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use mischievous in a sentence

  • She laid her finger tips upon his arm in proprietory fashion while a sly malice shone through the mischievousness of her smile.

    The Fighting Shepherdess  | Caroline Lockhart

British Dictionary definitions for mischievous


/ (ˈmɪstʃɪvəs) /

  1. inclined to acts of mischief

  2. teasing; slightly malicious: a mischievous grin

  1. causing or intended to cause harm: a mischievous plot

Derived forms of mischievous

  • mischievously, adverb
  • mischievousness, 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