mischief

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English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

From Middle English, from Old French, meschief, from meschever ‎(to bring to grief), from mes- ‎(badly) + chever ‎(happen", "come to a head), from Vulgar Latin *capare, from Latin caput ‎(head)

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

mischief ‎(countable and uncountable, plural mischiefs)

  1. Petty annoyance:
    1. (uncountable) Conduct that playfully causes petty annoyance.
      Drink led to mischief.
    2. (uncountable) Inclination to cause annoyance or trouble.
      She had mischief in her heart.
    3. (countable) An annoying action.
      John's mischief, tying his shoelaces together, irked George at first.
  2. (archaic) Harm or injury:
    1. (uncountable) Harm or trouble caused by an agent or brought about by a particular cause.
      Sooner or later he'll succeed in doing some serious mischief.
    2. (countable) An injury or an instance of harm or trouble caused by a person or other agent or cause.
      It may end in her doing a great mischief to herself—and perhaps to others too.
  3. (archaic) Cause or agent of annoyance, harm, or injury:
    1. (countable) A cause or agent of annoyance, harm or injury,
      • 1753, Samuel Richardson, The History of Sir Charles Grandison:
        To die like a man of honour, Sir Hargrave, you must have lived like one. You should be sure of your cause. But these pistols are too ready a mischief. Were I to meet you in your own way, Sir Hargrave, I should not expect, that a man so enraged would fire his over my head, as I should be willing to do mine over his. Life I would not put upon the perhaps involuntary twitch of a finger.
      1. especially, a person who causes mischief.
        • 1993, Carlos Parada, Genealogic Guide to Greek Mythology, page 71:
          Epimetheus was scatter-brained and a mischief to men for having taken the woman [Pandora] that Zeus had formed.
  4. (collective) A group or a pack of rats.
    • 2015, Rachel Smith, John Davidson, Rats For Kids, Mendon Cottage Books (ISBN 9781311748102), page 6
      A group of rats is not a herd or a gaggle, but a pack or a mischief of rats. Rats in general are omnivorous, meaning they will eat almost anything.  ...
    • 2014, G. W. Rennie, The Rat Chronicles, iUniverse (ISBN 9781491738313), page 21
      Kirac, the leader of the rats under his charge, speaks to the major through his telepathic abilities that manifested after the alien virus infected him and his mischief of rats. He is sitting on Captain Rushton's shoulder as he speaks with his  ...

Synonyms[edit]

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

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External links[edit]