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 alacrity (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 North Texas Food Bank, led by CEO Trisha Cunningham, tackled this monumental task with empathy and alacrity the likes of which we’ve never seen. Cheryl Hall, Dallas News, "Trisha Cunningham and her troops are miracle workers in pandemic response," 18 Dec. 2020 Can it be ridden on the interstate with moderate alacrity? Joe Michaud, San Diego Union-Tribune, "10 motorcycles for the newbie rider," 15 Nov. 2020 European governments, facing a virus surge, have moved with much greater alacrity, and their actions may foreshadow what can be expected here. Arkansas Online, "OPINION | OTHERS SAY: The runaway pandemic," 10 Nov. 2020 After all, Woodward held his White House scoop for his book instead of immediately sending a red flag about the president’s lack of alacrity in his public statements. Star Tribune, "The week's news vividly depicts concurrent crises," 11 Sep. 2020 But, even if the U.S. government had acted with alacrity and competence, there are limits to what such a system can do. Gideon Lewis-kraus, The New Yorker, "Jonathan Rothberg’s Race to Invent the Ultimate Rapid At-Home COVID-19 Test," 29 Aug. 2020 Remove and serve with alacrity and joy and salsa and/or sour cream. Beth Segal, cleveland, "Veggie Burger 2.0: Better than beef? It’s possible!," 27 Aug. 2020 And after nearly every DNC speaker sounded the alarm, there’s a ballot alacrity that seems unprecedented in presidential elections. Star Tribune, "Voting issues roil U.S., Belarus," 21 Aug. 2020 With astonishing alacrity, groups from various communities and industries worldwide have established countless relief funds and aid-providing initiatives. Laura Neilson, Vogue, "How This New York Chef Is Rallying Restaurants to Help Beirut," 14 Aug. 2020

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

7 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Alacrity.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Jan. 2021.

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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.

More from Merriam-Webster on alacrity

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for alacrity

Nglish: Translation of alacrity for Spanish Speakers

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