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 Indeed, fast-moving technology companies wield the letter of the law against the spirit of the laws with a skill and alacrity that would make Montesquieu’s head explode. Matt Sekerke, National Review, 1 Oct. 2021 Paired with pro dancer Sasha Farber, Lee showed moments of raw athletic awesomeness — bouncing up from a split with shocking alacrity and giving precise kicks and flicks in her jive. Bryan Alexander, USA TODAY, 21 Sep. 2021 Twenty years ago, getting a Jay-Z feature on your song was an instant upgrade that made radio programmers tear up their playlists and fans hit Limewire with alacrity. Christian Hoard, Rolling Stone, 3 Sep. 2021 Vaccinating kids age 12 and up, at the full dosage and same schedule as adults, should continue with alacrity. David Zweig, Wired, 16 July 2021 Greenwood was one of dozens of acts of mass racial violence that convulsed across the U.S. with increasing alacrity and systematic routineness that began during the period of Reconstruction. Paul Gardullo, Smithsonian Magazine, 24 May 2021 Eddins' interpretation was subtle and nuanced, and played with intelligence and alacrity by the orchestra. Terry Blain Special To The Star Tribune, Star Tribune, 24 Nov. 2020 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, 3 May 2021 Kansas is acting with healthy alacrity, as if the coach and momentum matter. John Canzano, oregonlive, 2 Apr. 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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The first known use of alacrity was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

10 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Alacrity.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Oct. 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

Nglish: Translation of alacrity for Spanish Speakers


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