balefulness vs mischief what difference

what is difference between balefulness and mischief



baleful +‎ -ness


balefulness (uncountable)

  1. The characteristic of being baleful.



From Middle English myschef, meschef, meschief, mischef, 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)


  • (US, UK(South))IPA(key): /ˈmɪstʃɪf/, /ˈmɪʃtʃɪf/
  • Rhymes: -ɪstʃɪf
  • (UK, Midlands and North)IPA(key): /ˈmɪstʃiːf/, /ˈmɪʃtʃiːf/
  • Rhymes: -ɪstʃiːf


mischief (countable and uncountable, plural mischiefs)

  1. (uncountable) Conduct that playfully causes petty annoyance.
    Synonyms: delinquency, naughtiness, roguery, scampishness; see also Thesaurus:villainy, Thesaurus:mischief
  2. (countable) A playfully annoying action.
  3. (collective) A group or a pack of rats.
    • 2014, G. W. Rennie, The Rat Chronicles, iUniverse →ISBN, 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, 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.
      • 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.
  5. (law) A criminal offence defined in various ways in various jurisdictions, sometimes including causing damage to another’s property.
  6. (archaic, countable) A cause or agent of annoyance, harm or injury, especially a person who causes mischief.
    Synonyms: bad boy, knave, rapscallion, rascal, rogue; see also Thesaurus:villain, Thesaurus:troublemaker
  7. (euphemistic) 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?
  8. (Australia) Casual and/or flirtatious sexual acts.


  • (harm or injury): agitation, annoyance, corruption, damage, demolition, destruction, detriment, disablement, disruption, evil, harm, hurt, ill, impairment, incapacitation, injury, nuisance, pique, ravage, sabotage, scathe, trouble, undoing, unmaking, vexation, weakening, wrong

Derived terms


Further reading

  • mischief at OneLook Dictionary Search
  • Mischief in the Encyclopædia Britannica (11th edition, 1911)

Middle English



  1. Alternative form of myschef

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