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Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English pleiful, equivalent to play +‎ -ful.


  • IPA(key): /ˈpleɪfəl/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -eɪfəl, -eɪfʊl


playful (comparative playfuller or more playful, superlative playfullest or most playful)

  1. liking play, prone to play frequently, such as a child or kitten; rather sportive.
    Actually, we are pretty playful in our romantic life.
  2. funny, humorous, jesting, frolicsome.
    John is a playful fellow.
    A party hat is a playful conical hat people wear at parties.
    • 1961 October, “The winter timetables of British Railways: Southern Region”, in Trains Illustrated, page 593:
      Why this already very fast train should be speeded up still further, when none of the other more easily timed S.R. West of England trains has a single minute pared from its schedule, is unexplained - unless this is a playful dig at the Western Region, most of whose expresses, by reason of additional stops, will be decelerated from the same date.
  3. fun, recreational, not serious.
    A brainteaser is a playful puzzle posed as a test of intelligence.
  4. experimental.
    He was a rather playful artist.

Derived terms[edit]


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