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Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English myschevous, mischevous, from Anglo-Norman meschevous, from Old French meschever, from mes- (mis-) + chever (come to an end) (from chef (head)). By surface analysis, mischief +‎ -ous.


  • IPA(key): /ˈmɪs.t͡ʃɪ.vəs/, /ˈmɪs.t͡ʃə.vəs/
  • (file)
  • (nonstandard) /mɪs.ˈt͡ʃiː.vi.əs/ (often along with the nonstandard spellings mischievious and/or mischevious)
  • (dated) /mɪs.ˈt͡ʃiː.vəs/


mischievous (comparative more mischievous, superlative most mischievous)

  1. Causing mischief; injurious.
    • 1793, Joseph Butler, The Analogy of Religion:
      ...; that good and bad actions at present are naturally rewarded and punished, not only as beneficial and mischievous to society, but also as virtuous and civious; ...
    • 1892, Henry Sidgwick, Outlines of the History of Ethics:
      On the whole, therefore, he concludes that the point of indulgence at which these self-passions or self-affections begin to be mischievous to the individual coincides with that at which they begin to be mischievous to society; ...
  2. Troublesome, cheeky, badly behaved.
    Matthew had a twin brother called Edward, who was always mischievous and badly behaved.

Usage notes[edit]

The spelling "misch(i)evious" and similar ones can be found since the 16th century, so the corresponding pronunciation is at least as old. But despite being common in a wide range of social classes today, these spellings and the corresponding pronunciation are still considered nonstandard and often viewed as incorrect.


Derived terms[edit]


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Further reading[edit]