ce·​ler·​i·​ty | \ sə-ˈler-ə-tē How to pronounce celerity (audio) , -ˈle-rə- \

Definition of celerity

: rapidity of motion or action Celerity of movement is vital in war.

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In the novel Of Human Bondage, W. Somerset Maugham tells of an undertaker's shop that used the words "Economy, Celerity, Propriety" as part of a window display involving "silver lettering on a black cloth" and "two model coffins." But celerity isn't dead in English writing, where it has proven its vitality since the Middle Ages. Shakespeare used it in Henry V when the chorus recited, "Thus with imagin'd wing our swift scene flies, / In motion of no less celerity / Than that of thought." Benjamin Franklin used it as a synonym of "velocity." And the speedy term (which can be traced back to celer, a Latin word meaning "swift") is still keeping pace today.

Examples of celerity in a Sentence

a journalist who writes his well-crafted stories with remarkable celerity
Recent Examples on the Web Electrons in solids tend to bump into atoms instead of moving uninterrupted, so being able to control them with such celerity was crucial for the team to carry out its Peter-Pan-and-his-shadow manipulation of the electron and the hole. Karmela Padavic-callaghan, Scientific American, 8 Dec. 2021 The list goes on, but the difference between now and centuries ago is the frequency and celerity with which materials move between continents and the increasing intensity of climate change. Claire Marie Porter, WIRED, 2 Aug. 2019 People solve mysteries and puzzles with shocking celerity. Daniel Payne, National Review, 20 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'celerity.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of celerity

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for celerity

Middle English celerite, borrowed from Anglo-French celeritee, borrowed from Latin celeritāt-, celeritās from celer "swift, speedy" + -itāt-, -itās -ity — more at accelerate

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Cite this Entry

“Celerity.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/celerity. Accessed 9 Aug. 2022.

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