[pley-fuh l]


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 formsplay·ful·ly, adverbplay·ful·ness, nounhalf-play·ful, adjectivehalf-play·ful·ly, adverbhalf-play·ful·ness, nounun·play·ful, adjectiveun·play·ful·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for playfulness

merrymaking, gaiety, jest

Examples from the Web for playfulness

Contemporary Examples of playfulness

Historical Examples of playfulness

  • 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.


    Joseph Conrad

British Dictionary definitions for playfulness



full of high spirits and funa playful kitten
good-natured and humorousa playful remark
Derived Formsplayfully, adverbplayfulness, 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 playfulness



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper