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[pley-fuh l] /ˈpleɪ fəl/
full of play or fun; sportive; frolicsome.
pleasantly humorous or jesting:
a playful remark.
Origin of playful
First recorded in 1200-50, playful is from the Middle English word pleiful. See play, -ful
Related forms
playfully, adverb
playfulness, noun
half-playful, adjective
half-playfully, adverb
half-playfulness, noun
unplayful, adjective
unplayfully, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for playfulness
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I am playful; playfulness is a part of my amiable character.

    Little Dorrit Charles Dickens
  • There was a playfulness about her nips and a gentleness that prevented them from really hurting him.

    White Fang Jack London
  • He was a quick-tempered gentleman, and my playfulness offended him.

    The Suitors of Yvonne Raphael Sabatini
  • It may have been playfulness, yet the girl jumped up as if she had been stung by a wasp.

    Notes on My Books Joseph Conrad
  • The very courtesy of his manner, the flavour of playfulness in the voice set him apart.

    Victory Joseph Conrad
  • You would ask why my husbands are the only victims of my playfulness?

British Dictionary definitions for playfulness


full of high spirits and fun: a playful kitten
good-natured and humorous: a playful remark
Derived Forms
playfully, adverb
playfulness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for playfulness



mid-13c., from play (v.) + -ful. Related: Playfully; playfulness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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