AskDefine | Define mischief

Dictionary Definition



1 reckless or malicious behavior that causes discomfort or annoyance in others [syn: mischief-making, mischievousness, deviltry, devilry, devilment, rascality, roguery, roguishness, shenanigan]
2 the quality or nature of being harmful or evil [syn: maleficence, balefulness] [ant: beneficence]

User Contributed Dictionary



From Old French, meschef, from mes- + chef, head.



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



Harm or evil caused by an agent or brought about by a particular cause
One who causes mischief
Vexatious or annoying conduct

Extensive Definition

Mischief, in criminal law, is an offense against property that does not involve conversion. It typically involves any damage, defacement, alteration, or destruction of property. Common forms include vandalism, graffiti, or some other destruction or defacement of property other than arson. Governed by state law, criminal mischief is committed when a perpetrator, having no right to do so nor any reasonable ground to believe that he has such right, intentionally damages property of another person, intentionally participates in the destruction of property of another person, or participates in the reckless damage or destruction of property of another person. Criminal mischief is usually a misdemeanor. The etymology of the word comes from Old French meschief, which means "misfortune,' from meschever, "to end badly." The term ‘mischief’ tends to minimize or play down the extent or seriousness of the violence often associated with the attacks.
In computer science and hacker jargon, mischief is a form of attack that clearly indicates the breach of the system and constitutes a form of injury or an infringement of rights, more specifically invasion of privacy, against which legal action can be taken to secure damages. Grey hat hackers often use mischief as a way to signal security breaches to system administrators. Anox is known for his various actions in that matter.
Mischief is also a way for a hacker to "prove" himself to others. As an overt demonstration to other hackers of his skill in the use of force, these security breaches can be taken as a sign of criminal intent and may result in charges as serious as terrorism. In this context, terroristic threat involves a threat to commit violence (the computer attack) communicated with intent to cause significant harm, inconvenience, or injury (the resulting breach) in reckless disregard of the risk of causing such harm, inconvenience, or injury. Brute force is associated with hacker ‘mischief’.


Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Discordia, Eris, abomination, atrocity, bad, bad boy, badness, bane, bankruptcy, befoulment, blight, booger, breakage, breakdown, buffoon, bugger, clash, clashing, collapse, conflict, contention, corruption, crack-up, crippling, crying evil, cutup, damage, defilement, despoliation, destruction, detriment, devil, devilishness, devilment, devilry, deviltry, diablerie, difference, difficulty, dilapidation, disablement, disaccord, disadvantage, disaffinity, discord, discordance, discordancy, disharmony, disrepair, disruption, dissension, dissent, division, drawback, elf, elfishness, encroachment, enfant terrible, enmity, evil, foolishness, friction, funmaker, grievance, handicap, hardship, harm, havoc, high spirits, hobbling, hood, hoodlum, hooligan, hurt, hurting, ill, imp, impairment, impishness, incapacitation, incompatibility, incompatibleness, infection, infringement, inharmoniousness, inharmony, injury, inroad, jangle, jar, joker, jokester, knave, liability, limb, little devil, little monkey, little rascal, loss, loss of ground, maiming, mayhem, minx, misbehavior, mischief-maker, mischievousness, misfortune, monkey business, monkeyshines, mutilation, naughtiness, noncooperation, open conflict, outrage, pixie, playfulness, poison, pollution, practical joker, prankishness, pranksomeness, prankster, prejudice, puck, puckishness, rapscallion, rascal, rascality, rogue, roguery, roguishness, rowdy, rub, ruffian, ruin, ruination, ruinousness, sabotage, scalawag, scamp, scampishness, scapegrace, scathe, shenanigans, sickening, spoiling, sportiveness, step backward, strained relations, strife, tension, the worst, toxin, trouble, unharmoniousness, unpleasantness, variance, venom, vexation, villain, wag, waggery, waggishness, weakening, woe, wrong, youthful spirits
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