: of, relating to, or characterized by play : playful
Did You Know?
Here's a serious word, just for fun. That is to say, it means "fun," but it was created in all seriousness around 1940 by psychologists. They wanted a term to describe what children do, and they came up with "ludic activity." That may seem ludicrous—why not just call it "playing"?—but the word ludic caught on, and it's not all child's play anymore. It can refer to architecture that is playful, narrative that is humorous and even satirical, and literature that is light. Ludic is ultimately from the Latin noun ludus, which refers to a whole range of fun things—stage shows, games, sports, even jokes. The more familiar word ludicrous also traces back to the same source.
"[Mo] Willems's humor is often ludic…. The classic shaggy-dog structure of 'I Broke My Trunk!' centers on Gerald [an elephant] telling a long heroic story that involves him balancing on his trunk first just Hippo … and then also Rhino … and then also Hippo's big sister, playing a grand piano." — Rivka Galchen, The New Yorker, 6 Feb. 2017
"Born of her childhood, Ono's art has remained essentially ludic. Her works usually invite participation. She describes her pieces as 'unfinished' until the audience interacts with them…." — Jack Feerick, Kirkus Reviews, 17 Dec. 2012
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Word Family Quiz
What word derived from Latin ludus refers to a period of time between events or activities?VIEW THE ANSWER
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