noun alac·ri·ty \ə-ˈla-krə-tē\

Definition of alacrity

  1. :  promptness in response :  cheerful readiness accepted the invitation with alacrity


play \-krə-təs\ adjective

alacrity was our Word of the Day on 01/03/2016. Hear the podcast!

Examples of alacrity in a sentence

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. … 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

  4. She accepted the invitation with an alacrity that surprised me.

  5. having just acquired his driver's license that morning, the teen agreed with alacrity to drive his cousin to the airport

Did You Know?

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."

Origin and Etymology of alacrity

Latin alacritas, from alacr-, alacer lively, eager

First Known Use: 15th century

ALACRITY Defined for English Language Learners


noun alac·ri·ty \ə-ˈla-krə-tē\

Definition of alacrity for English Language Learners

  • : a quick and cheerful readiness to do something

ALACRITY Defined for Kids


noun alac·ri·ty \ə-ˈla-krə-tē\

Definition of alacrity for Students

  1. :  a cheerful readiness to do something He accepted the challenge with alacrity.

Seen and Heard

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feeling or affected by lethargy

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