alac·​ri·​ty ə-ˈla-krə-tē How to pronounce alacrity (audio)
: promptness in response : cheerful readiness
accepted the invitation with alacrity
alacritous adjective

Did you know?

Alacrity Predates Shakespeare

"I have not that alacrity of spirit / Nor cheer of mind that I was wont to have," says William Shakespeare's King Richard III in the play that bears his name. Alacrity derives from the Latin word alacer, meaning "lively" or "eager." 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 English via Italian (where it can mean "merry") and is assumed to be ultimately from alacer.

Example Sentences

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
Recent Examples on the Web In lobbying for alacrity in adopting a COVID-19 liability bill, proponents say time is of the essence for businesses now uncertain about potential COVID-19 liabilities, making the swift adoption of a protective measure for employers vital for the state’s economic recovery. John Haughey, Washington Examiner, 12 Nov. 2020 Cornyn and his fellow Senate Republicans, teaming with Trump, have worked with such alacrity on judicial confirmations over the last four years that, for the first time in a long time, there are no vacancies on Texas' four district courts or on the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. Tom Benning, Dallas News, 10 Sep. 2020 But, with unusual alacrity, authorities have used subpoenas and police powers to freeze boats suspected of having links to the Russian élite. Evan Osnos, The New Yorker, 18 July 2022 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, 30 Sep. 2020 With one click, shoppers expect items to be shipped to them with alacrity and precision, across continents and oceans. Esther Fung, WSJ, 21 Dec. 2022 Voters responded with alacrity. Jennifer C. Berkshire, The New Republic, 9 Dec. 2021 Drug treatments for debilitating diseases are advancing rapidly, but the Food and Drug Administration isn’t moving with as much alacrity. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 20 Feb. 2023 Despite their ordeal, many children push ahead with resolve, and even alacrity. Megan Specia Brendan Hoffman, New York Times, 28 Oct. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'alacrity.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Latin alacritas, from alacr-, alacer lively, eager

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined above

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


Dictionary Entries Near alacrity

Cite this Entry

“Alacrity.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition


alac·​ri·​ty ə-ˈlak-rət-ē How to pronounce alacrity (audio)
: a cheerful readiness to do something
accepted with alacrity
alacritous adjective

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