Top 61 Slang For Misbehavior – Meaning & Usage

Mischievous behavior is a common occurrence, especially among the younger crowd. But have you ever stopped to think about the colorful slang terms that are used to describe such antics?

From “being a little devil” to “raising hell,” our team has gathered a list of the most entertaining and relatable slang for misbehavior that will have you nodding in agreement and maybe even chuckling at some of the creative expressions used. So buckle up and get ready to explore this fun and informative compilation!

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1. Acting up

This phrase refers to someone behaving in a disruptive or unruly manner. It implies that the person is not following rules or behaving as expected.

  • For example, a teacher might say, “The students in my class were acting up today and not paying attention.”
  • A parent might scold their child, saying, “Stop acting up and listen to me.”
  • In a workplace, a supervisor might warn an employee, “If you keep acting up, there will be consequences.”

2. Getting into hot water

This phrase means to engage in behavior that is likely to result in negative consequences or punishment.

  • For instance, a teenager might say, “I got into hot water with my parents for coming home late.”
  • A coworker might warn another, “Be careful not to get into hot water with the boss by missing deadlines.”
  • Someone might reflect on their actions, saying, “I knew I was getting into hot water when I decided to cheat on the test.”

3. Raising hell

This phrase means to create chaos or cause a disturbance. It suggests engaging in behavior that is disruptive or rebellious.

  • For example, a partygoer might say, “We’re going to raise hell tonight and have the best time.”
  • A parent might scold their child, saying, “If you don’t stop raising hell, you’re going to be grounded.”
  • In a workplace, a coworker might complain about a difficult colleague, saying, “They’re always raising hell and making it hard for everyone else.”

4. Stirring the pot

This phrase means to deliberately provoke or incite trouble or disagreement. It implies that someone is intentionally causing a disturbance or creating tension.

  • For instance, a gossip might say, “I love stirring the pot and watching the drama unfold.”
  • A friend might warn another, “Be careful not to stir the pot between those two, or it could escalate into a big fight.”
  • A coworker might accuse someone of stirring the pot, saying, “They’re always spreading rumors and causing drama in the office.”

5. Playing up

This phrase means to exaggerate or amplify one’s misbehavior or misconduct. It suggests that someone is intentionally making their actions seem worse than they actually are.

  • For example, a child might say, “I’m really playing up my sickness so I can stay home from school.”
  • A friend might tease another, saying, “You’re playing up your clumsiness to get attention.”
  • A coworker might complain about someone, saying, “They’re always playing up their workload to make others feel guilty.”

6. Being a bad egg

This phrase refers to someone who consistently behaves in a disruptive or mischievous manner. It is often used to describe someone who is causing problems or behaving inappropriately.

  • For example, a teacher might say, “That student is a real bad egg. They’re always causing trouble.”
  • In a group of friends, one might joke, “Watch out for him, he’s a bad egg. He’ll get us into trouble.”
  • A parent might say, “I don’t know what to do with my bad egg of a child. They’re always getting into trouble.”

7. Being a wild child

This phrase is used to describe someone, often a child or young person, who is unruly, disobedient, or difficult to control. It suggests a sense of unpredictability and a tendency to engage in reckless or rebellious behavior.

  • For instance, a teacher might say, “That student is a real wild child. They never listen and always disrupt the class.”
  • A parent might complain, “I can’t handle my wild child anymore. They’re constantly pushing boundaries and causing chaos.”
  • A friend might say, “She’s always been a wild child. You never know what she’s going to do next.”

8. Being a loose cannon

This phrase refers to someone who is unpredictable and liable to cause harm or damage due to their reckless or impulsive behavior. It implies a lack of control and suggests that the person’s actions can have serious consequences.

  • For example, a coworker might say, “He’s a loose cannon. You never know what he’s going to say or do.”
  • In a discussion about a problematic teammate, someone might say, “We need to address his behavior. He’s become a real loose cannon.”
  • A friend might warn, “Be careful around him. He’s a loose cannon and could get you into trouble.”

9. Being a handful

This phrase is used to describe someone who is challenging or demanding to deal with, often due to their misbehavior or unruly behavior. It suggests that the person requires a lot of attention, effort, or control to handle.

  • For instance, a teacher might say, “That student is a handful. They constantly disrupt the class and require constant supervision.”
  • A parent might complain, “My child is such a handful. They never listen and always push boundaries.”
  • A coworker might say, “She’s a handful to work with. She’s always causing drama and making things difficult.”

10. Being a menace

This phrase refers to someone who is a source of danger, trouble, or annoyance. It implies that the person’s actions or behavior pose a threat or cause harm, whether intentionally or unintentionally.

  • For example, a neighbor might say, “Those kids are a real menace. They vandalize property and disturb the peace.”
  • In a discussion about a disruptive coworker, someone might say, “He’s a menace in the workplace. His behavior negatively impacts the entire team.”
  • A teacher might describe a disruptive student as a menace, saying, “I can’t have him in my class. He’s a constant menace to the other students.”

11. Being a rascal

A rascal is someone who often behaves in a mischievous or playful way, causing trouble or annoyance. It is typically used to describe someone who engages in minor acts of misbehavior or pranks.

  • For example, a parent might say, “My son is such a rascal, always getting into trouble.”
  • A teacher might scold a student by saying, “Stop being a rascal and pay attention in class.”
  • Friends might tease each other by saying, “You’re such a rascal for pulling that prank on me.”

12. Being a scallywag

A scallywag is a term used to describe someone who is dishonest, unreliable, or mischievous. It is often used in a lighthearted or playful manner to refer to someone who engages in minor acts of mischief or troublemaking.

  • For instance, a friend might jokingly say, “You’re such a scallywag for stealing my fries.”
  • A parent might scold their child by saying, “Stop acting like a scallywag and clean up your room.”
  • In a group of friends, one might playfully call another a scallywag for pulling a prank.

13. Being a hooligan

A hooligan is someone who engages in rowdy or disruptive behavior, often in a group. The term is typically used to describe someone who causes trouble or engages in violent or aggressive behavior.

  • For example, spectators at a soccer match might be referred to as hooligans if they engage in violence or vandalism.
  • A teacher might describe a disruptive student as a hooligan.
  • In a discussion about public disturbances, one might say, “The city has a problem with hooligans causing trouble downtown.”

14. Being a delinquent

A delinquent is someone who repeatedly engages in illegal or antisocial behavior, often as a minor. The term is typically used to describe someone who has a pattern of breaking the law or engaging in activities that are considered morally wrong.

  • For instance, a teenager who frequently skips school and engages in petty theft might be labeled as a delinquent.
  • A police officer might refer to a young offender as a delinquent.
  • In a conversation about juvenile crime, one might discuss the need for intervention programs to prevent delinquency.
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15. Being a trouble magnet

A trouble magnet is someone who seems to attract or invite trouble or misfortune. The term is often used humorously to describe someone who frequently finds themselves in difficult or problematic situations.

  • For example, a friend who always ends up in awkward or embarrassing situations might be called a trouble magnet.
  • A coworker who constantly has conflicts with others might be jokingly referred to as a trouble magnet.
  • In a discussion about bad luck, someone might say, “I swear I’m a trouble magnet, everything always goes wrong for me.”

16. Act up

To act in a way that is considered misbehaving or disruptive. It can refer to both children and adults.

  • For example, a teacher might say, “Please settle down and stop acting up in class.”
  • A parent might scold their child, “If you continue to act up, we will leave the store.”
  • In a group setting, someone might say, “Let’s not act up and ruin the party for everyone else.”

17. Raise hell

To create a lot of trouble or chaos in a situation. It implies causing a commotion or disruption.

  • For instance, a group of rowdy fans might “raise hell” at a sporting event, causing security to intervene.
  • A person might say, “If you don’t want to raise hell, then follow the rules.”
  • In a protest, demonstrators might “raise hell” to draw attention to their cause.

18. Get into hot water

To find oneself in a difficult or troublesome situation, often as a result of one’s own actions.

  • For example, a student who plagiarizes might “get into hot water” with their teacher.
  • A person might say, “If you keep lying, you’re going to get into hot water with your friends.”
  • In a workplace, an employee who violates company policies might “get into hot water” with their boss.

19. Stir up trouble

To deliberately cause trouble or create conflict in a situation.

  • For instance, someone might “stir up trouble” by spreading rumors or gossip.
  • A person might say, “Don’t stir up trouble by bringing up controversial topics at the family gathering.”
  • In a group setting, a troublemaker might “stir up trouble” by starting arguments or disagreements.

20. Play up

To exaggerate or overemphasize one’s misbehavior or wrongdoing, often for attention or sympathy.

  • For example, a child might “play up” their illness to avoid going to school.
  • A person might say, “Stop playing up your mistakes and take responsibility for your actions.”
  • In a social setting, someone might “play up” their misbehavior to fit in with a certain group.

21. Be a handful

This phrase is often used to describe someone, especially a child, who is challenging to handle or control.

  • For example, a parent might say, “My toddler is a real handful at bedtime.”
  • A teacher might comment, “The students in that class are quite a handful.”
  • A friend might joke, “You have your hands full with that mischievous puppy. He’s a handful!”

22. Go off the rails

This slang phrase is used to describe someone who is behaving in a way that is out of control or outside the norm.

  • For instance, a person might say, “After the breakup, he really went off the rails and started partying every night.”
  • A friend might comment, “I can’t believe she went off the rails and quit her stable job.”
  • A parent might express concern, “I’m worried that my teenager is starting to go off the rails and make poor choices.”

23. Make mischief

This phrase refers to engaging in activities that are mischievous or playful, often with the intention of causing trouble or creating chaos.

  • For example, a group of friends might plan to make mischief by pulling pranks on April Fools’ Day.
  • A sibling might say, “Let’s make mischief and rearrange mom’s office supplies.”
  • A mischievous character in a book or movie might be described as always making mischief wherever they go.

24. Act out

This phrase is used to describe someone who is behaving in a way that is disruptive, disobedient, or attention-seeking.

  • For instance, a child might act out in school when they are feeling frustrated or ignored.
  • A friend might say, “She tends to act out when she doesn’t get her way.”
  • A teacher might comment, “I need to find strategies to help him manage his emotions and not act out in class.”

25. Get up to no good

This phrase is used to describe someone who is engaging in activities that are questionable, mischievous, or potentially harmful.

  • For example, a parent might warn their child, “Don’t hang out with those kids, they’re always getting up to no good.”
  • A friend might say, “I have a feeling they’re up to no good with that secretive behavior.”
  • A neighbor might comment, “I saw them sneaking around late at night. They’re definitely getting up to no good.”

26. Be a troublemaker

To intentionally cause problems or engage in mischievous behavior.

  • For example, “He’s always stirring up trouble and being a troublemaker.”
  • A teacher might say, “Don’t be a troublemaker in my class.”
  • In a group of friends, someone might playfully tease, “You’re such a troublemaker!”

27. Be a rebel

To go against rules, authority, or societal expectations.

  • For instance, “She’s always rebelling against the status quo and being a rebel.”
  • A parent might say, “Don’t be a rebel and listen to your elders.”
  • In a discussion about social justice, someone might declare, “It’s important to be a rebel and fight for what’s right.”

28. Be a wild child

To act in a carefree, uninhibited, or impulsive manner.

  • For example, “He’s always partying and being a wild child.”
  • A friend might say, “Let’s go out and be wild child tonight!”
  • In a conversation about someone’s adventurous lifestyle, one might comment, “She’s definitely a wild child.”

29. Be a delinquent

To commit crimes or engage in behavior that goes against societal norms.

  • For instance, “He’s always getting into trouble and being a delinquent.”
  • A teacher might warn a student, “Don’t be a delinquent and end up in jail.”
  • In a discussion about juvenile crime, someone might say, “We need to address the underlying issues that lead to delinquency.”

30. Be a bad egg

To be someone who causes trouble or cannot be relied upon.

  • For example, “He’s always causing problems and being a bad egg.”
  • A coworker might complain, “I can’t count on him to do his work. He’s a bad egg.”
  • In a conversation about a group of friends, someone might say, “We have a few bad eggs in our circle.”

31. Be a naughty boy/girl

This phrase is often used to describe someone, typically a child, who is misbehaving or acting in a naughty or disobedient manner.

  • For example, a parent might say, “Don’t be a naughty boy and listen to your teacher.”
  • A teacher might reprimand a student by saying, “I won’t tolerate any naughty behavior in my classroom.”
  • A friend might jokingly say, “You’re such a naughty girl for sneaking out last night.”

32. Be a little devil

This phrase is used to describe someone who is being mischievous or engaging in playful, naughty behavior.

  • For instance, a parent might say to their child, “You’re being a little devil today, aren’t you?”
  • A friend might playfully tease another by saying, “You’re such a little devil for pulling that prank.”
  • A teacher might say to a student, “I know you’re capable of great things, so stop acting like a little devil.”

33. Be a rascal

This term is used to describe someone who is misbehaving or acting in a playful, mischievous manner.

  • For example, a parent might say to their child, “Stop being a rascal and clean up your toys.”
  • A friend might jokingly say, “You’re such a rascal for convincing me to skip class.”
  • A teacher might say to a student, “I know you have potential, so don’t waste it by being a rascal.”

34. Be a scallywag

This term is often used to describe someone who is misbehaving or acting in a mischievous or dishonest way.

  • For instance, a parent might say to their child, “Don’t be a scallywag and steal cookies from the jar.”
  • A friend might playfully tease another by saying, “You’re such a scallywag for tricking me into doing your chores.”
  • A teacher might reprimand a student by saying, “I won’t tolerate any scallywag behavior in my classroom.”

35. Be a rapscallion

This term is used to describe someone who is misbehaving or acting in a mischievous or roguish manner.

  • For example, a parent might say to their child, “You’re being a rapscallion today, aren’t you?”
  • A friend might jokingly say, “You’re such a rapscallion for pulling that prank.”
  • A teacher might say to a student, “I know you have potential, so don’t waste it by being a rapscallion.”

36. Be a disruptor

To be a disruptor means to intentionally cause trouble or chaos, often in a disruptive or unconventional manner.

  • For example, a student might be labeled a disruptor if they constantly interrupt the class with off-topic comments.
  • In a business setting, someone might be seen as a disruptor if they challenge the status quo and introduce innovative ideas.
  • A protester who disrupts a public event to draw attention to their cause could be considered a disruptor.
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37. Be a rebel without a cause

To be a rebel without a cause means to act rebelliously or in opposition to authority without any clear purpose or reason.

  • For instance, a teenager who constantly breaks rules and defies authority figures without any specific goal can be described as a rebel without a cause.
  • In a political context, someone who rebels against the established system without offering any alternative solutions might be considered a rebel without a cause.
  • A person who engages in random acts of defiance or nonconformity without a specific motivation can also be labeled a rebel without a cause.

38. Be a loose cannon

To be a loose cannon means to be unpredictable and uncontrollable, often behaving in a reckless or dangerous manner.

  • For example, a coworker who frequently makes impulsive decisions without considering the consequences can be described as a loose cannon.
  • In a military context, a soldier who acts independently and disregards orders, potentially putting others at risk, might be referred to as a loose cannon.
  • A person who frequently engages in risky behavior or takes unnecessary risks can also be labeled a loose cannon.

39. Be a hell-raiser

To be a hell-raiser means to intentionally cause trouble and chaos, often through disruptive or rebellious behavior.

  • For instance, a group of rowdy teenagers who vandalize property and disturb the peace can be described as hell-raisers.
  • In a social context, someone who consistently disrupts parties or events with disruptive behavior and excessive drinking might be labeled a hell-raiser.
  • A person who instigates fights or engages in aggressive behavior with the intention of causing chaos can also be considered a hell-raiser.

40. Be a fire-starter

To be a fire-starter means to initiate conflict or trouble, often by provoking others or instigating arguments.

  • For example, a person who constantly stirs up drama and creates tension among friends or coworkers can be described as a fire-starter.
  • In a political context, someone who deliberately spreads false information or inflammatory statements to incite conflict can be labeled a fire-starter.
  • A person who frequently starts arguments or engages in confrontational behavior with the intention of causing trouble can also be considered a fire-starter.

41. Be a mischief monger

To be a mischief monger means to intentionally cause trouble or engage in mischievous behavior. It refers to someone who enjoys creating chaos or playing pranks.

  • For example, a teacher might scold a student by saying, “Stop being a mischief monger and pay attention in class!”
  • A parent might warn their child, “If you continue to be a mischief monger, there will be consequences.”
  • In a group of friends, one might playfully say, “You’re such a mischief monger, always coming up with wild ideas!”

42. Be a rabble-rouser

To be a rabble-rouser means to stir up trouble or incite a crowd. It refers to someone who intentionally provokes others or agitates a situation to create chaos or unrest.

  • For instance, a political activist might be labeled a rabble-rouser for organizing protests and demonstrations.
  • A journalist might write an article criticizing a public figure as a rabble-rouser for their inflammatory statements.
  • In a heated argument, one person might accuse the other of being a rabble-rouser to discredit their arguments.

43. Be a trouble seeker

To be a trouble seeker means to actively seek out and cause trouble. It refers to someone who intentionally looks for opportunities to create chaos or engage in misbehavior.

  • For example, a group of teenagers might be labeled trouble seekers if they go around vandalizing property.
  • A coworker who constantly stirs up drama and conflicts can be described as a trouble seeker.
  • In a school setting, a student who purposely breaks rules and disrupts classes might be considered a trouble seeker.

44. Be a chaos creator

To be a chaos creator means to intentionally create chaos or disorder. It refers to someone who enjoys causing confusion, disruption, or upheaval in a situation.

  • For instance, a prankster who sets off fire alarms or pulls elaborate pranks can be described as a chaos creator.
  • A person who deliberately spreads false rumors or misinformation to create panic is also a chaos creator.
  • In a group project, someone who consistently derails discussions and refuses to follow guidelines can be seen as a chaos creator.

45. Be a malcontent

To be a malcontent means to be a person who is dissatisfied and constantly complains. It refers to someone who is always discontented and finds fault with everything around them.

  • For example, a coworker who constantly complains about their job and criticizes the company can be described as a malcontent.
  • A customer who is never satisfied with the service they receive and always finds something to complain about is also a malcontent.
  • In a social setting, someone who is always unhappy and negative can be labeled a malcontent.

46. Antics

This term refers to playful or silly behavior that is often intended to entertain or amuse others. Antics can range from harmless pranks to more disruptive or attention-seeking actions.

  • For example, “The children were up to their usual antics, running around and laughing.”
  • During a comedy show, a performer might engage in comedic antics to make the audience laugh.
  • Someone might say, “His antics at the party were outrageous and had everyone talking.”

47. Shenanigans

Shenanigans typically refers to mischievous or playful behavior, but it can also imply deceit or trickery. The term is often used in a lighthearted or humorous way to describe questionable actions or pranks.

  • For instance, “We caught them trying to pull some shenanigans to win the game.”
  • A person might say, “I’m tired of your shenanigans. It’s time to be serious.”
  • In a comedy movie, characters might get into all sorts of shenanigans that lead to comedic situations.
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48. Tomfoolery

Tomfoolery refers to playful or foolish behavior that is often considered harmless or amusing. It can involve pranks, jokes, or other light-hearted actions that are meant to entertain or provoke laughter.

  • For example, “The kids engaged in some tomfoolery, pretending to be superheroes.”
  • During a comedy show, a comedian might engage in tomfoolery to make the audience laugh.
  • A person might say, “Enough with the tomfoolery! It’s time to get serious.”

49. Skullduggery

Skullduggery refers to underhanded or dishonest behavior, often involving deceit or trickery. It implies sneaky or cunning actions with the intent to deceive or manipulate others.

  • For instance, “The politician was involved in some serious skullduggery to gain an advantage.”
  • A person might say, “I don’t trust him. He’s always up to some skullduggery.”
  • In a mystery novel, the detective uncovers a web of skullduggery as they investigate a crime.

50. Infraction

An infraction is a minor violation of a rule or law. It refers to a small offense or breach of conduct that typically carries less severe consequences compared to more serious offenses.

  • For example, “Jaywalking is considered a minor infraction in most cities.”
  • A person might say, “He received a ticket for a traffic infraction.”
  • In a sports game, a player might commit an infraction by breaking a specific rule.

51. Malfeasance

Malfeasance refers to the act of intentionally doing something that is illegal or morally wrong. It often involves misconduct or wrongdoing in a professional or official capacity.

  • For example, a news article might report, “The CEO was accused of malfeasance for embezzling company funds.”
  • In a legal context, a lawyer might argue, “The evidence presented does not prove malfeasance beyond a reasonable doubt.”
  • A person discussing political corruption might say, “We need to hold our elected officials accountable for any malfeasance.”

52. Misdemeanor

A misdemeanor is a type of criminal offense that is less serious than a felony but more serious than an infraction. It typically carries a punishment of fines or a short jail sentence.

  • For instance, a police officer might issue a citation for a misdemeanor like shoplifting.
  • In a court case, a lawyer might argue, “The defendant should be charged with a misdemeanor rather than a felony.”
  • A person discussing criminal justice reform might say, “We need to reevaluate how we treat nonviolent misdemeanors.”

53. Prankster behavior

Prankster behavior refers to engaging in mischievous or playful acts, often with the intention of amusing oneself or others. It can involve harmless practical jokes, tricks, or pranks.

  • For example, a group of friends might engage in prankster behavior by setting up a fake surprise party for someone.
  • In a school setting, a teacher might say, “We need to address the issue of prankster behavior disrupting the learning environment.”
  • A person discussing April Fools’ Day might say, “It’s a day where prankster behavior is celebrated and expected.”

54. Disorderly conduct

Disorderly conduct refers to engaging in behavior that disrupts public order or disturbs the peace. It typically involves actions that are considered offensive, threatening, or disruptive.

  • For instance, a person shouting obscenities in a public place could be charged with disorderly conduct.
  • In a police report, an officer might document an incident as “disorderly conduct involving public intoxication.”
  • A person discussing public safety might say, “Increased police presence can help deter instances of disorderly conduct.”

55. Mischievousness

Mischievousness refers to a tendency or inclination to engage in playful or harmless mischief. It often involves teasing, pranks, or lighthearted tricks.

  • For example, a child might display mischievousness by hiding someone’s belongings as a playful joke.
  • In a conversation about childhood memories, someone might say, “I remember getting into all sorts of mischievousness with my siblings.”
  • A person describing a friend’s personality might say, “He has a mischievousness about him that always keeps things interesting.”

56. Impish behavior

Impish behavior refers to mischievous or playful actions that are often done with a mischievous or playful intent. It can involve pranks, tricks, or playful teasing.

  • For example, a child might engage in impish behavior by hiding their sibling’s toy and giggling.
  • In a group of friends, someone might playfully say, “Stop your impish behavior and let’s get back to work.”
  • A teacher might describe a student’s behavior as impish when they are constantly making funny faces during class.

57. Rogue behavior

Rogue behavior refers to actions that are rebellious, defiant, or outside the norms of acceptable behavior. It often involves going against authority or societal rules.

  • For instance, a teenager might engage in rogue behavior by sneaking out of the house at night.
  • In a workplace, an employee might display rogue behavior by consistently ignoring company policies.
  • A friend might describe someone’s behavior as rogue when they refuse to follow the group’s plans.

58. Unruliness

Unruliness refers to a lack of discipline or control, often resulting in disruptive or disorderly behavior. It can involve being loud, rowdy, or disruptive in a way that disturbs others.

  • For example, a group of unruly students might disrupt a classroom by talking loudly and not following instructions.
  • In a crowded concert, unruliness can occur when individuals push and shove to get closer to the stage.
  • A parent might describe their child’s behavior as unruly when they refuse to listen and constantly throw tantrums.

59. Insolence

Insolence refers to behavior that is rude, disrespectful, or impolite. It often involves showing a lack of respect or disregard for authority or social norms.

  • For instance, a teenager might display insolence by talking back to their parents or teachers.
  • In a professional setting, an employee might show insolence by speaking disrespectfully to their supervisor.
  • A friend might describe someone’s behavior as insolent when they make derogatory remarks or refuse to listen to others.

60. Disobedience

Disobedience refers to the act of deliberately refusing to follow rules, orders, or instructions. It involves a conscious decision to go against authority or established guidelines.

  • For example, a child might display disobedience by ignoring their parents’ request to clean their room.
  • In a military setting, disobedience can result in disciplinary action for not following orders.
  • A teacher might address disobedience in the classroom when students consistently disregard the classroom rules.

61. Miscreant behavior

This term refers to behavior that is considered wrong, immoral, or unacceptable. It is often used to describe someone who is behaving in a disruptive or disobedient manner.

  • For example, a teacher might say, “I will not tolerate miscreant behavior in my classroom.”
  • A parent might scold their child by saying, “Stop your miscreant behavior right now!”
  • In a news article about a protest, the journalist might write, “The demonstrators engaged in miscreant behavior by vandalizing property.”