Playful, frolicsome, sportive, roguish, waggish, impish, mischievous mean given to play, jests, or tricks or indicative of such a disposition or mood.
Playful stresses either lighthearted gaiety or merriment or a lack of seriousness or earnestness.
Frolicsome heightens the implications of playful; it carries a stronger suggestion of friskiness or prankishness or irresponsible merriment.
Sportive carries a stronger implication of jesting or of levity than either of the preceding words; the term sometimes implies merely excess of animal spirits, but it usually connotes a desire to evoke or provoke laughter.
Roguish not only heightens the implications of sportive, but it suggests an engaging naughtiness or slyness.
Waggish suggests a less engaging sportiveness than roguish and one less delicate in its character; usually also the term carries a stronger suggestion of jocoseness or of jocularity.
Impish adds to roguish a hint of elfish, malicious mockery.
Mischievous combines the implications of frolicsome and impish. Although it may imply the doing of mischief (see mischief under INJURY 1 ) or the causing of an injury to others it commonly retains some suggestion of mingled playfulness and malice.
Often it suggests little more than thoughtless indifference to the possible effects of one’s sports, tricks, or practical jokes.