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From Middle English naughty, nauȝty, nauȝti, naȝti, equivalent to naught +‎ -y.



naughty (comparative naughtier, superlative naughtiest)

  1. Mischievous; tending to misbehave or act badly (especially of a child). [from 17th c.]
    Some naughty boys at school hid the teacher's lesson notes.
  2. Sexually provocative; now in weakened sense, risqué, cheeky. [from 19th c.]
    I bought some naughty lingerie for my honeymoon.
    If I see you send another naughty email to your friends, you will be forbidden from using the computer!
  3. (now rare, archaic) Evil, wicked, morally reprehensible. [from 15th c.]
    • c. 1596-97, William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, Act V scene i[1]
      [] How far that little candle throws his beams! / So shines a good deed in a naughty world.
    • 1644, John Milton, Areopagitica
      Wholesome meats to a vitiated stomack differ little or nothing from unwholesome; and best books to a naughty mind are not unappliable to occasions of evill.
    • (Can we date this quote by Nicholas Udall and provide title, author’s full name, and other details?)
      Such as be intemperant, that is, followers of their naughty appetites and lusts.
  4. (obsolete) Bad, worthless, substandard. [16th-19th c.]
    • 1999, American King James Bible, Jeremiah 24:2:
      One basket had very good figs, even like the figs that are first ripe: and the other basket had very naughty figs, which could not be eaten, they were so bad.

Alternative forms[edit]



  • (immoral; cheeky): nice

Derived terms[edit]


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