from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Behavior that causes discomfiture or annoyance in another.
  • n. An inclination or tendency to play pranks or cause embarrassment.
  • n. One that causes minor trouble or disturbance: The child was a mischief in school.
  • n. Damage, destruction, or injury caused by a specific person or thing: The broken window was the mischief of vandals.
  • n. The state or quality of being mischievous.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Harm or evil caused by an agent or brought about by a particular cause.
  • n. One who causes mischief. In a milder sense, one who causes petty annoyances. mischief-maker.
  • n. Vexatious or annoying conduct.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Harm; damage; esp., disarrangement of order; trouble or vexation caused by human agency or by some living being, intentionally or not; often, calamity, mishap; trivial evil caused by thoughtlessness, or in sport.
  • n. Cause of trouble or vexation; trouble.
  • transitive v. To do harm to.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To hurt; harm; ruin.
  • To come to harm or misfortune; miscarry.
  • n. A harmful or troublesome event, circumstance, or contingency; an action or occurrence attended with evil or vexation; an annoying, frustrating, or hurtful state or condition of things; misfortune; calamity: used with much latitude of application: as, some one is making mischief; the mischief is that he cannot keep his temper.
  • n. The act, state, course, or disposition of causing annoyance, trouble, or harm; vexatious or injurious operation or tendency; the working of damage or disaster: as, the clouds bode mischief; what mischief is he up to now? often used in a kindly or playful sense, or for affectionate excuse: as, the lad is full of mischief, but not vicious.
  • n. One who or that which does harm or causes injury or vexation; a source of trouble or annoyance: as, that child is a mischief.
  • n. Annoyance, injury, or damage caused or produced; harm; hurt: as, to do mischief; irremediable mischief: now never used in the plural.
  • n. The devil. [Colloq.]
  • n. Synonyms Damage, Harm, etc. See injury.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. reckless or malicious behavior that causes discomfort or annoyance in others
  • n. the quality or nature of being harmful or evil


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English mischef, from Old French meschief, misfortune, from meschever, to end badly : mes-, badly; + chever, to happen, come to an end (from Vulgar Latin *capāre, to come to a head, from *capum, head, from Latin caput).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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")



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  • Etymology back to caput!

    February 20, 2018