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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 playfulness
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • She put aside the playfulness in which his grim earnest veiled itself.

    Adrienne Toner Anne Douglas Sedgwick
  • I am playful; playfulness is a part of my amiable character.

    Little Dorrit Charles Dickens
  • Some emotion, or exhaustion from the strain of the swimmer's breath in speech, stopped her playfulness.

  • There was a playfulness about her nips and a gentleness that prevented them from really hurting him.

    White Fang Jack London
  • I like your Susan very much; she is a sweet creature, her playfulness of fancy is very delightful.

  • He was a quick-tempered gentleman, and my playfulness offended him.

    The Suitors of Yvonne Raphael Sabatini
British Dictionary definitions for playfulness


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 playfulness



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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