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[pley-fuh l] /ˈpleɪ fəl/
full of play or fun; sportive; frolicsome.
pleasantly humorous or jesting:
a playful remark.
Origin of playful
1200-50; Middle English pleiful. See play, -ful
Related forms
playfully, adverb
playfulness, noun
half-playful, adjective
half-playfully, adverb
half-playfulness, noun
unplayful, adjective
unplayfully, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for playful
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • To the uninitiated this would have seemed the work of a playful child.

    Green Eyes Roy J. Snell
  • All is still on a colossal scale, but playful, capricious, phantasmagoric.

    The Roof of France Matilda Betham-Edwards
  • Her manner, so playful, yet full of keen penetration, drove them away like a battery of sunbeams.

    Agatha's Husband Dinah Maria Craik (AKA: Dinah Maria Mulock)
  • How noisy and romping the brook was; how capricious, how playful, how furtive!

  • Every playful or fond gesture was carefully hoarded up as a store of treasures in the mind of her ladyship.

    Lady Rosamond's Secret Rebecca Agatha Armour
British Dictionary definitions for playful


full of high spirits and fun: a playful kitten
good-natured and humorous: a playful remark
Derived Forms
playfully, adverb
playfulness, 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 playful

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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