adjective, naugh·ti·er, naugh·ti·est.

disobedient; mischievous (used especially in speaking to or about children): Weren't we naughty not to eat our spinach?
improper, tasteless, indecorous, or indecent: a naughty word.
Obsolete. wicked; evil.

Origin of naughty

Middle English word dating back to 1350–1400; see origin at naught, -y1
Related formsnaugh·ti·ly, adverbnaugh·ti·ness, noun

Synonyms for naughty

1. willful, wayward, misbehaving. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for naughtiness

Contemporary Examples of naughtiness

Historical Examples of naughtiness

  • And somehow you knew it wasn't your naughtiness that made her cry.

  • And all this grief Emily brought upon her friends by her own naughtiness.

    The Fairchild Family

    Mary Martha Sherwood

  • Fancy Mary Gladstone forgiving me even that second naughtiness!

    Hortus Inclusus

    John Ruskin

  • The second "naughtiness" will be found in "Arrows of the Chace," Vol.

    Hortus Inclusus

    John Ruskin

  • But, you see, I have taken a great fancy to her in spite of her naughtiness.

    A Modern Tomboy

    L. T. Meade

British Dictionary definitions for naughtiness


adjective -tier or -tiest

(esp of children or their behaviour) mischievous or disobedient; bad
mildly indecent; titillating

noun plural -ties

Australian and NZ slang an act of sexual intercourse
Derived Formsnaughtily, adverbnaughtiness, noun

Word Origin for naughty

C14 (originally: needy, of poor quality): from naught
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 naughtiness



late 14c., naugti "needy, having nothing," from Old English nawiht (see naught) + -y (2). Sense of "wicked, evil, morally wrong" is attested from 1520s; specific meaning "sexually promiscuous" is from 1869. The more tame main modern sense of "disobedient" (especially of children) is attested from 1630s. Related: Naughtily; naughtiness. A woman of bad character c.1530-1750 might be called a naughty pack (also sometimes of men and later of children).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper