[pees-fuh l]
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  1. characterized by peace; free from war, strife, commotion, violence, or disorder: a peaceful reign; a peaceful demonstration.
  2. of, relating to, or characteristic of a state or time of peace.
  3. peaceable; not argumentative, quarrelsome, or hostile: a peaceful disposition.

Origin of peaceful

First recorded in 1250–1300, peaceful is from the Middle English word pesful. See peace, -ful
Related formspeace·ful·ly, adverbpeace·ful·ness, nounqua·si-peace·ful, adjectivequa·si-peace·ful·ly, adverbsem·i·peace·ful, adjectivesem·i·peace·ful·ly, adverbun·peace·ful, adjectiveun·peace·ful·ly, adverb
Can be confusedpeaceable peaceful (see synonym study at the current entry)

Synonyms for peaceful

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1. Peaceful, placid, serene, tranquil refer to what is characterized by lack of strife or agitation. Peaceful today is rarely applied to persons; it refers to situations, scenes, and activities free of disturbances or, occasionally, of warfare: a peaceful life. Placid, serene, tranquil are used mainly of persons; when used of things (usually elements of nature) there is a touch of personification. Placid suggests an unruffled calm that verges on complacency: a placid disposition; a placid stream. Serene is a somewhat nobler word; when used of persons it suggests dignity, composure, and graciousness: a serene old man; when applied to nature there is a suggestion of mellowness: the serene landscapes of autumn. Tranquil implies a command of emotions, often because of strong faith, which keeps one unagitated even in the midst of excitement or danger. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for peacefully

Contemporary Examples of peacefully

Historical Examples of peacefully

  • He married Aldonza at Michaelmas, and all went well and peacefully in the household.

    The Armourer's Prentices

    Charlotte M. Yonge

  • "I 'ain't got nothin' to tell, dear," answered Dilly, peacefully.

    Meadow Grass

    Alice Brown

  • Therese peacefully watched the activity of his movements round about her.

    Therese Raquin

    Emile Zola

  • Let us interrogate the great apparition, that shines so peacefully around us.


    Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • It was quiet––oddly, peacefully quiet for a second––in that long room.

British Dictionary definitions for peacefully


  1. not in a state of war or disagreement
  2. tranquil; calm
  3. not involving violencepeaceful picketing
  4. of, relating to, or in accord with a time of peacepeaceful uses of atomic energy
  5. inclined towards peace
Derived Formspeacefully, adverbpeacefulness, 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

Word Origin and History for peacefully



early 14c., "inclined to peace, friendly, pacific," from peace + -ful. Meaning "tranquil, calm, full of peace" is from mid-14c. In reference to nonviolent methods of effecting social change, it is attested from 1876. Related: Peacefully; peacefulness. Peaceful coexistence (1920) originally was in regard to Soviet policy toward the capitalist West.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper