[spawr-tiv, spohr-]


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 formsspor·tive·ly, adverbspor·tive·ness; Archaic. sport·a·bil·i·ty, nounun·spor·tive, adjectiveun·spor·tive·ly, adverbun·spor·tive·ness, noun

Synonyms for sportive Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for sportive

Historical Examples of sportive

  • Such characters are not ruled by fate but by a sportive chance.

  • 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.

  • 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.

British Dictionary definitions for sportive



playful or joyous
done in jest rather than seriously
of, relating to, or interested in sports
obsolete wanton or amorousa sportive wench
Derived Formssportively, adverbsportiveness, 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 sportive

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper