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

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 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.

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 That handily shapeshifted into easygoing alacrity with the skipping, major-key sections later in the movement, a seamless union of whimsy and might. Hannah Edgar,, 10 Dec. 2021 Finally, the speed from initial release to design changes and then actual production throughput must move with great alacrity, delivering rapid new product launches and engineering change integration. Jason Spera, Forbes, 19 Oct. 2021 Attaining knowledge and performing tasks at an alacrity unmatched by humans, machine learning meets our society’s need for speed. Ted Mico, Forbes, 10 Sep. 2021 The commissioner’s lack of alacrity was yet another disturbing misstep in the process, particularly allowing QuennevIlle to coach Wednesday’s game., 29 Oct. 2021 Despite weighing 6950 pounds, the R1T accelerates on pavement with relentless alacrity. Derek Powell, Car and Driver, 29 Sep. 2021 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

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

7 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Alacrity.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Jan. 2022.

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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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