Frolic is a beautiful term that somehow captures the essence of what frolicking feels like. The meaning of "playfully prance around" is from the 1580s; before that, it was actually an adjective describing someone as "full of joy". However, that wasn't around for long; the word was borrowed in the 1530s from Dutch vrolik, also "cheerful". This underwent quite a bit of alterations as we travel back to Old Dutch; some attested variations included vrolijk, vrolijc, frolik, and vrolyc. The common things in all these words (despite the continued definition) are the two Dutch roots: vro, meaning "merry", and lyc, meaning "like". Vro is reconstructed as coming from Proto-Indo-European preu, or "hop", which makes the act of frolicking an etymological jumping for joy.
Adam Aleksic is a 219-month-old, 2800-ounce high school senior with disturbing interests in etymology, vexillology, geography, board games, limericks, and law. Adam is awaiting his college rescissions and loves writing about himself in the third person.
The Etymology Nerd