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Alternative forms[edit]


From Dutch vrolijk (cheerful), from Middle Dutch vrolijc, from Old Dutch frōlīk, from Proto-Germanic *frawalīkaz. Compare German fröhlich (blitheful, gaily, happy, merry).

The first element, ultimately from Proto-Germanic *frawaz, is cognate with Middle English frow (hasty); the latter element, ultimately from *-līkaz, is cognate with -ly, -like.



frolic (comparative more frolic, superlative most frolic)

  1. (now rare) Merry, joyous, full of mirth; later especially, frolicsome, sportive, full of playful mischief. [from 1530s]
    • 1645, John Milton, “L’Allegro”, in Poems[1], London: Humphrey Moseley, page 31:
      The frolick wind that breathes the Spring,
      Zephyr with Aurora playing,
      As he met her once a Maying
      There on Beds of Violets blew,
    • 1682, Edmund Waller, “Of Love”, in Poems, &c. written upon several occasions, and to several persons[2], 5th edition, London: H. Herringman, published 1686, page 73:
      For women, born to be controul’d,
      Stoop to the forward and the bold,
      Affect the haughty and the proud,
      The gay, the frollick, and the loud.
    • 1766, Joseph Addison, The Spectator - Volume 5 - Page 304:
      You meet him at the tables and conversations of the wise, the impertinent, the grave, the frolic, and the witty; [...]
    • 1897, Henry James, What Maisie Knew:
      Beale, under this frolic menace, took nothing back at all; he was indeed apparently on the point of repeating his extravagence, but Miss Overmore instructed her little charge that she was not to listen to his bad jokes [...].
  2. (obsolete, rare) Free; liberal; bountiful; generous.


frolic (third-person singular simple present frolics, present participle frolicking, simple past and past participle frolicked)

  1. (intransitive) To make merry; to have fun; to romp; to behave playfully and uninhibitedly. [from 1580s]
    We saw the lambs frolicking in the meadow.
  2. (transitive, archaic) To cause to be merry.

Derived terms[edit]



frolic (plural frolics)

  1. Gaiety; merriment. [from 1610s]
    • 1876, Louisa May Alcott, “The King of Clubs and the Queen of Hearts”, in Hallberger's Illustrated Magazine: 1876:
      the annual jubilee [] filled the souls of old and young with visions of splendour, frolic and fun.
    • 2012 (original 1860), Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Marble Faun - Page 276:
      By the old-fashioned magnificence of this procession, it might worthily have included his Holiness in person, with a suite of attendant Cardinals, if those sacred dignitaries would kindly have lent their aid to heighten the frolic of the Carnival.
  2. A playful antic.
  3. (obsolete, chiefly US) A social gathering.
    • 1820, Washington Irving, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow:
      He came clattering up to the school door with an invitation to Ichabod to attend a merry-making or “quilting frolic,” to be held that evening at Mynheer Van Tassel’s

Derived terms[edit]


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See also[edit]

Related terms[edit]