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[spawr-tiv, spohr-] /ˈspɔr tɪv, ˈspoʊr-/
playful or frolicsome; jesting, jocose, or merry:
a sportive puppy.
done in sport, rather than in earnest:
a sportive show of affection.
pertaining to or of the nature of a sport or sports.
Biology. mutative.
Archaic. ardent; wanton.
Origin of sportive
First recorded in 1580-90; sport + -ive
Related forms
sportively, adverb
sportiveness; Archaic. sportability, noun
unsportive, adjective
unsportively, adverb
unsportiveness, noun
1. jocular, gay, sprightly, frisky. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for sportive
Historical Examples
  • Such characters are not ruled by fate but by a sportive chance.

    The American Mind Bliss Perry
  • He plays with two sportive spaniels, and cries "Down, Sir, down."

    Ireland as It Is Robert John Buckley (AKA R.J.B.)
  • Fred shook it as he wished, though he was far from feeling in a sportive mood.

    The Hunters of the Ozark Edward S. Ellis
  • During this sportive encounter, Mr. Regulus came up to greet me.

    Ernest Linwood Caroline Lee Hentz
  • It is the only time I ever saw this hawk in a sportive or aggressive mood.

  • How shrunken with the sorrow of their wretched lives, and yet how sportive they seem!

    An Outcast F. Colburn Adams
  • The address at the head of this paper is no sportive invention of mine.

    From a Cornish Window Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch
  • That is the point about American sport; that it is not in the least sportive.

    What I Saw in America G. K. Chesterton
  • With some sportive malice there was evidently a spice of truth in his remarks.

    The Cornwall Coast Arthur L. Salmon
  • I've seen her as sportive as a young fawn at the Hall of Harmony.

British Dictionary definitions for sportive


playful or joyous
done in jest rather than seriously
of, relating to, or interested in sports
(obsolete) wanton or amorous: a sportive wench
Derived Forms
sportively, adverb
sportiveness, 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 sportive

1580s, from sport + -ive. Related: Sportively; sportiveness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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