ea·​ger ˈē-gər How to pronounce eager (audio)
: marked by enthusiastic or impatient desire or interest
archaic : sharp
obsolete : sour
eagerly adverb
eagerness noun
Choose the Right Synonym for eager

eager, avid, keen, anxious, athirst mean moved by a strong and urgent desire or interest.

eager implies ardor and enthusiasm and sometimes impatience at delay or restraint.

eager to get started

avid adds to eager the implication of insatiability or greed.

avid for new thrills

keen suggests intensity of interest and quick responsiveness in action.

keen on the latest fashions

anxious emphasizes fear of frustration or failure or disappointment.

anxious not to make a social blunder

athirst stresses yearning but not necessarily readiness for action.

athirst for adventure

Examples of eager in a Sentence

… wine connoisseurs eager to visit cellars and late-fall pilgrims seeking the increasingly rare white truffle … Corby Kummer, Atlantic, August 2000
… so many religions were steeped in an absolutist frame of mind—each convinced that it alone had a monopoly on the truth and therefore eager for the state to impose this truth on others. Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World, 1996
She was eager to get started. The crowd was eager for more.
Recent Examples on the Web Most mornings, Kabul’s English schools are crowded with Taliban soldiers and employees in camouflage jackets, who appear as eager as other students to study abroad. Rick Noack, Washington Post, 19 Feb. 2024 And these movies are a reminder that teenage boys aren’t the only people eager to hit up the multiplexes. Rebecca Rubin, Variety, 19 Feb. 2024 The war was bringing in a public eager to learn about weapons, planes, and the nature of the country that was once again the enemy. Claudia Roth Pierpont, The New Yorker, 19 Feb. 2024 Some taxpayers are more eager than others to get their checks. Kelly Phillips Erb, Forbes, 17 Feb. 2024 Top brands in particular may be eager to ink endorsement deals with pro-bound college athletes that can last the entirety of their careers, Weber said. Clare Duffy, CNN, 16 Feb. 2024 Abbott wasn’t as eager to discuss that side of the deal. David Hudnall, Kansas City Star, 14 Feb. 2024 But the mere fact that Microsoft and OpenAI are eager to ink deals is seen by some publishers as a sign of a guilty conscience. Lachlan Cartwright, The Hollywood Reporter, 14 Feb. 2024 Because there was little to base Ken on beyond an aesthetic, Gosling dug through fragments of his own life as a child performer, one who sang at weddings, eager for approval. Ramin Setoodeh, Variety, 7 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'eager.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English egre, from Anglo-French egre, aigre, from Latin acer — more at edge

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2a

Time Traveler
The first known use of eager was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near eager

Cite this Entry

“Eager.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/eager. Accessed 1 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


ea·​ger ˈē-gər How to pronounce eager (audio)
: having or showing an impatient or enthusiastic desire or interest
was eager to get going
eagerly adverb
eagerness noun

Middle English egre "sharp, sour, keen," from early French aigre (same meaning), from Latin acer (same meaning) — related to vinegar

More from Merriam-Webster on eager

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