1. Behavior that causes annoyance or difficulty: tried to keep the kids from engaging in any mischief.
a. Damage, destruction, or injury caused by a specific person or thing: the mischief done by a faulty gene.
b. Archaic A specific injury or harm done: "Instead of doing them a service, you meant to do them a mischief?" (Charles Dickens).
3. The inclination or tendency to play pranks or get into trouble: eyes that gleamed with mischief.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.