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.

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
Recent Examples on the Web Outside of New Delhi, the central government has involved itself with greater alacrity in domains constitutionally under the jurisdiction of India’s states. Milan Vaishnav, Foreign Affairs, 18 Mar. 2021 Biden needs Israel to win its war against the terrorist group Hamas — a righteous war in which the U.S. has invested its treasure and prestige — with all possible alacrity. Noah Rothman, National Review, 17 Apr. 2024 But the supreme court showed little alacrity in hearing the multiple legal challenges brought before it. Vaibhav Vats, The Atlantic, 3 Feb. 2024 After de Maistre gave a performance of Alberto Ginastera’s Harp Concerto, a work of dreaminess and rhythmic alacrity, in the early two-thousands, Ginastera’s widow suggested that de Maistre transcribe the Argentine composer’s songs for the harp. The New Yorker, 8 Dec. 2023 See all Example Sentences for alacrity 

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 19 Jul. 2024.

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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