[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 are the tricks which destiny, a sportive imp, plays with human affairs.

    The Smuggler's Cave

    George A. Birmingham

  • He looked round, and with sportive tenderness gazed into his daughters eyes.

    The Bishop's Apron

    W. Somerset Maugham

  • The transient, sportive disorder of the little boys was but a harmless ripple on the surface of her thought.

  • She answered only with a sportive, delighted arch smile, seated herself at the instrument, and dashed off into a brilliant waltz.

    Mildred at Home

    Martha Finley

  • Thus you see that your disquiets have had no foundation but in the sportive malice of your talkative neighbour.

    Jane Talbot

    Charles Brockden Brown

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