alac·​ri·​ty | \ ə-ˈla-krə-tē How to pronounce alacrity (audio) \

Definition of alacrity

: promptness in response : cheerful readiness accepted the invitation with alacrity

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Other Words from alacrity

alacritous \ ə-​ˈla-​krə-​təs How to pronounce alacrity (audio) \ adjective

Alacrity Predates Shakespeare

I have not that alacrity of spirit / Nor cheer of mind that I was wont to have, says Shakespeare’s King Richard III in the play that bears his name. When Shakespeare penned those words some 400 years ago, "alacrity" was less than a hundred years old. Our English word derives from the Latin word alacer, which means "lively." It denotes physical quickness coupled with eagerness or enthusiasm. Are there any other words in English from Latin alacer? Yes - "allegro," which is used as a direction in music with the meaning "at a brisk lively tempo." It came to us via Italian (where it can mean "merry") and is assumed to be ultimately from "alacer."

Examples of alacrity in a Sentence

Surely one of the most striking features of human dynamics is the alacrity with which those who have been oppressed will oppress whomever they can once the opportunity presents itself. — Randall Kennedy, Atlantic, May 1997 Every Disney worker I spoke to, from ticket sellers to gardeners sprucing up already-immaculate flower beds, knew the answer to my questions and responded with smiling alacrity. — Ken Tucker, Entertainment Weekly, 22 June 1990 … when he entered the drawing room before dinner, the buzz of discussion was high between Tom, Maria, and Mr. Yates; and Mr. Rushworth stepped forward with great alacrity to tell him the agreeable news. — Jane Austen, Mansfield Park, 1814 She accepted the invitation with an alacrity that surprised me. having just acquired his driver's license that morning, the teen agreed with alacrity to drive his cousin to the airport
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Recent Examples on the Web English is full of doublets, because of the Norman Conquest of 1066 and because of the alacrity with which the language continues to adopt words from other tongues. Melissa Mohr, The Christian Science Monitor, "The melodious origin of ‘swan’ and ‘sonata’," 3 May 2021 Kansas is acting with healthy alacrity, as if the coach and momentum matter. John Canzano, oregonlive, "Canzano: Oregon State must seize NCAA Tournament momentum and reward Wayne Tinkle," 2 Apr. 2021 So many people embraced the one click life with alacrity. William Thornton |, al, "For Amazon and its workers, a search for fulfillment," 25 Mar. 2021 Resilience has two meanings in this context: In the first sense, resilience means responding with alacrity to new business challenges, like a major client demanding expert engineering analysis within a single business day. Louis Gritzo, Forbes, "Progress From The Pandemic: Remote Work Improves Organizational Resilience," 18 Mar. 2021 The administration itself has acted with alacrity, condemning the coup and sanctioning some Burmese leaders and businesses that benefit from military rule. Editorial Board, Star Tribune, "U.S. must confront the coup in Myanmar," 18 Mar. 2021 And when the pandemic shuttered theaters, the 24 Hour Plays responded with astonishing alacrity. New York Times, "Instant Artifacts of a Disconnected Time (and Lots of Hugh Dancy)," 16 Mar. 2021 Shake off excess and serve with alacrity to cheers. Beth Segal, cleveland, "Popovers! Perfect for Passover and beyond," 17 Mar. 2021 Can the vendor and its partners anticipate and jump in with alacrity to help solve problems, upstream or downstream, as well as with peripheral supply chain demands like diagnostic testing kits and PPE? Susan Galer, Forbes, "The Not So Obvious Lessons Learned From Managing A Global Vaccine Distribution Cold-Chain," 11 Mar. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'alacrity.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of alacrity

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for alacrity

Latin alacritas, from alacr-, alacer lively, eager

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Time Traveler for alacrity

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The first known use of alacrity was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

7 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Alacrity.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for alacrity



English Language Learners Definition of alacrity

: a quick and cheerful readiness to do something


alac·​ri·​ty | \ ə-ˈla-krə-tē How to pronounce alacrity (audio) \

Kids Definition of alacrity

: a cheerful readiness to do something He accepted the challenge with alacrity.

More from Merriam-Webster on alacrity

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for alacrity

Nglish: Translation of alacrity for Spanish Speakers

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