early 14c., pesful, peesfull, paisful, "inclined to peace, friendly, pacific;" mid-14c. as "tranquil, calm, full of peace;" from peace + -ful. In reference to nonviolent methods of effecting social change, it is attested from 1876. Related: Peacefully; peacefulness. Peaceful coexistence (1920) originally was in regard to Soviet policy toward the capitalist West.