• IPA: /ˈmɪstʃɪf/, /ˈmɪʃtʃɪf/


  1. (uncountable) Conduct that playfully causes petty annoyance.
    Synonyms: delinquency, naughtiness, roguery, scampishness, Thesaurus:villainy, Thesaurus:mischief
    Drink led to mischief.
  2. (countable) A playfully annoying action.
    John's mischief, tying his shoelaces together, irked George at first.
  3. (collective) A group or a pack of rats.
    • 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.
    • 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.
  4. (archaic) Harm or injury:
    1. (uncountable) Harm or trouble caused by an agent or brought about by a particular cause.
      She had mischief in her heart.
      Sooner or later he'll succeed in doing some serious mischief.
      • 1815, Jane Austen, Emma, Volume I, Chapter 8:
        Vanity working on a weak head, produces every sort of 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.
  5. (archaic, countable) A cause or agent of annoyance, harm or injury, especially a person who causes mischief.
    Synonyms: bad boy, knave, rapscallion, rascal, rogue, Thesaurus:villain, Thesaurus:troublemaker
  6. (euphemism) The Devil; used as an expletive.
    • 1967, The Statesman (volume 12, page 260)
      What the mischief are you? and how the mischief did you get here, and where in thunder did you come from?
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