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[spawr-tiv, spohr-] /ˈspɔr tɪv, ˈspoʊr-/
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
1580-90; sport + -ive
Related forms
sportively, adverb
sportiveness; Archaic. sportability, noun
unsportive, adjective
unsportively, adverb
unsportiveness, noun
1. jocular, gay, sprightly, frisky. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for sportive
Historical Examples
  • Even that brave if paradoxical cry was cheered, and the sportive Jimmy looked about him valiantly.

    Ann Arbor Tales Karl Edwin Harriman
  • Such characters are not ruled by fate but by a sportive chance.

    The American Mind Bliss Perry
  • During this sportive encounter, Mr. Regulus came up to greet me.

    Ernest Linwood Caroline Lee Hentz
  • He plays with two sportive spaniels, and cries "Down, Sir, down."

    Ireland as It Is Robert John Buckley (AKA R.J.B.)
  • There are heaps of salmon on the Pacific slope, but they are not salar, and not sportive in the rivers to the fly.

    Lines in Pleasant Places William Senior
  • Fred shook it as he wished, though he was far from feeling in a sportive mood.

    The Hunters of the Ozark Edward S. Ellis
  • She possessed in the highest degree all that gives to the face brilliancy, charm, and sportive gayety.

  • It is the only time I ever saw this hawk in a sportive or aggressive mood.

  • Naiads and Tritons assembled for a gamesome ride over the sea typify the sportive hide-and-seek of the waves.

  • How shrunken with the sorrow of their wretched lives, and yet how sportive they seem!

    An Outcast F. Colburn Adams
British Dictionary definitions for sportive


playful or joyous
done in jest rather than seriously
of, relating to, or interested in sports
(obsolete) wanton or amorous: a sportive wench
Derived Forms
sportively, adverb
sportiveness, 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 sportive

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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