View synonyms for naughty


[ naw-tee ]


, naugh·ti·er, naugh·ti·est.
  1. disobedient; mischievous (used especially in speaking to or about children):

    Weren't we naughty not to eat our spinach?

    Synonyms: wayward, willful

  2. improper, tasteless, indecorous, or indecent:

    a naughty word.

  3. Obsolete. wicked; evil.


/ ˈnɔːtɪ /


  1. (esp of children or their behaviour) mischievous or disobedient; bad
  2. mildly indecent; titillating
“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


  1. slang.
    an act of sexual intercourse
“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
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Derived Forms

  • ˈnaughtiness, noun
  • ˈnaughtily, adverb
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Other Words From

  • naughti·ly adverb
  • naughti·ness noun
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Word History and Origins

Origin of naughty1

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English; naught + -y 1
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Word History and Origins

Origin of naughty1

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

Despite home-working challenges like naked partners, noisy children and naughty pets, a recent Gartner survey revealed that as many as 80% of business leaders plan to allow remote work beyond the pandemic.

From Digiday

While the company’s leadership allows that much of the company’s reputation — even its naughty side — was built on news content, its top executives insist that the other legs of the stool are just as important.

From Digiday

The siren song of sneaking around, the chance to show Santa the true meaning of being naughty, well, these are temptations that may be too strong to resist.

Whether you’re joining the Onesies Occult or attempting to make naughty Candace Owens into a fright-fest all your own — this year’s celebration will be full of worm-shaped sweets and, of course, a host of horrifically hype Halloween songs.

People trying to feel more whole will maybe try to cut out all their naughty bits.

Can you call someone a ‘naughty boy’ or do you have to say ‘naughty man?’

But there are increasingly more who are well-spoken, educated, and just a little naughty.

Former Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner was caught sexting naughty photos, which caused his resignation.

If users want to send naughty photos with a veil of privacy, opt for the pixilated shower door filter.

Click the option to be warned about sensitive media and these naughty images won't be thrust at you.

It appears to be the opinion of the advocates of apparitions that naughty ghosts have cold hands.

In this case the husband was the offending party, and was very naughty, and therefore his hands were very cold.

Mr. Towne did not do much last winter, Mary said, beside run around with Naughty Nan.

Tessa, in a broken voice, like the appeal of a naughty child with the naughtiness all gone, what shall I do?

He almost slew me with his eyes; I cant see why such naughty hearts should look through such eyes!


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About This Word

What does naughty mean?

Naughty means disobedient, mischievous, or generally misbehaving, particularly when applied to children.

Naughty is usually used in reference to misbehavior that’s minor or mischievous, as opposed to more serious disobedience. In this way, it’s also sometimes applied to pets.

Example: If you kids start to get naughty before bedtime, I’m going to take away your TV privileges. 

In a much different context, naughty is used to describe things that are sexually suggestive, as in naughty jokes, or things that pertain to sex, often in a way that’s hidden, forbidden, or secret. In this way, it is often used playfully or as a euphemism (a milder substitute of what is being referred to).

Example: Oh my God, have you two been doing naughty stuff in the supply shed?

Where does naughty come from?

The first records of the word naughty come from around the 1400s. It comes from the word naught, meaning “nothing.” Naught comes from Middle English word nāwiht, from the parts nā, meaning “no,” and wiht, meaning “thing” or “person.” The earliest recorded uses of naughty refer to having nothing—being poor. It then took on senses meaning “evil” or “immoral.” In the 1500s, it took on its sexual meaning—at first more literal and later more ironic or euphemistic. It wasn’t until the 1600s or after that it was popularly used to describe misbehaving children.

Children called naughty are often those who don’t listen to a thing you say and don’t do anything you tell them to do. But the word implies that such behavior isn’t all that serious, and perhaps could even be considered cute (depending on who has to clean up the mess made by the naughty children). Pets who misbehave in this way can also be called naughty, as in Mr. Fluffles, you naughty kitty, why must you knock all my things off the shelf? The word can also be applied to adults in a humorous or ironic way, such as to describe someone cheating on their diet or sneaking food into a movie theater.

When naughty is used in a sexual way, it’s usually meant to be a bit cheeky or playful, often likening sexual activity to behavior that breaks the rules somehow. It’s commonly applied to things that are sexually suggestive or sexually explicit, as in You just watch that movie for the naughty parts. In this sense, a close synonym of the word is dirty. But it can also be used as a playful euphemism to refer to sexual activity, as in Your honeymoon is supposed to be spent being naughty!

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms of naughty?

  • naughtier (comparative adjective)
  • naughtiest (superlative adjective)
  • naughtily (adverb)
  • naughtiness (noun)

What are some synonyms for naughty?

What are some words that share a root or word element with naughty



What are some words that often get used in discussing naughty?


How is naughty used in real life?

The word naughty is used in modern conversation to refer to misbehaving children and pets. It is often used with a less serious and more playful tone.



Try using naughty!

Which of the following terms would NOT be used to describe a child considered naughty?

A. mischievous
B. out of control
C. obedient
D. misbehaving




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