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 alacritous (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 The results themselves would have had a similar impact even had they been announced with alacrity. Noah Millman, TheWeek, "Elizabeth Warren's last chance," 6 Feb. 2020 The alacrity by which Trump and Giuliani have made these unprecedented moves is matched only by the swiftness with which their demands have undercut American interests in Ukraine. Casey Michel, The New Republic, "Rudy Giuliani’s Year of Living Dangerously," 26 Sep. 2019 Things might have been different had the Revolution acted with alacrity when they were offered Keane., "The Revolution’s gamble in leaving," 20 Nov. 2019 Eager to deflect attention from the Shah Bano announcement, and pacify Hindus, the Rajiv Gandhi government complies with the court order with great alacrity. Sangeeta Tanwar, Quartz India, "A timeline of a land dispute that has ripped India’s heart apart over seven decades," 9 Nov. 2019 The Norwegian Nobel Committee has awarded the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize to Abiy Ahmed Ali, the Ethiopian prime minister who, with stunning alacrity, has made major strides in resolving a decades-long border conflict with Eritrea. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali Wins the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize," 31 July 2018 Readers devour his books with an alacrity that is otherwise quite unknown in our domestic book world. Andrew Katzenstein, Harper's magazine, "The Radical Conservative," 16 Sep. 2019 Snap is running out of excuses about its Android app, and the company must move with alacrity here. Washington Post, "Hold the Applause for Snapchat," 5 Feb. 2019 But equally troubling is the alacrity with which Japan imposed trade sanctions. The Economist, "South Korea and Japan are taking their historical feud too far," 31 Aug. 2019

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

10 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Alacrity.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for alacrity


How to pronounce alacrity (audio)

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.

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More from Merriam-Webster on alacrity

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for alacrity

Spanish Central: Translation of alacrity

Nglish: Translation of alacrity for Spanish Speakers

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