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  • celerity
  • audio pronunciation
  • \suh-LAIR-uh-tee\
  • DEFINITION

noun

: rapidity of motion or action : swiftness
  • EXAMPLES

Monica was impressed by the ease and celerity with which the new waiter she had hired could wipe down and set up a table.

"The Common Core entered public discourse suddenly this year, due in large part to the celerity with which the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation financed and coordinated its implementation in 2010." — Micah Meadowcroft, The American Spectator, June 9, 2014

  • DID YOU KNOW?

In the novel Of Human Bondage, W. Somerset Maugham tells of an undertaker's shop that used the words "Economy, Celerity, Propriety" as part of a window display involving "silver lettering on a black cloth" and "two model coffins." But "celerity" isn't dead in English writing, where it has proven its vitality since the Middle Ages. Shakespeare used it in Henry V when the chorus recited, "Thus with imagin'd wing our swift scene flies, / In motion of no less celerity / Than that of thought." Benjamin Franklin used it as a synonym of "velocity." And the speedy term (which can be traced back to "celer," a Latin word meaning "swift") is still keeping pace today.

Word Family Quiz: What relative of "celerity" can mean "to move faster"? The answer is …

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Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP

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