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Coined between 1500 and 1510 from Latin alacritās,[1] from alacer (brisk) + -itas (-ity).


  • (UK, US) enPR: ə-lă'crĭ-tē, IPA(key): [əˈlækɹɨti]
  • (file)


alacrity (countable and uncountable, plural alacrities)

  1. Eagerness; liveliness; enthusiasm.
    Synonyms: avidity, eagerness, enthusiasm, willingness
    Antonyms: apathy, disinclination, hesitance, indifference, reluctance
    • 1553 (posth.), Thomas More, A Dialogue of Comfort against Tribulation, Book I, Chapter 19:
      Besides, a wealthy man, well at ease, may pray to God quietly and merrily with alacrity and great quietness of mind, whereas he who lieth groaning in his grief cannot endure to pray nor can he hardly think upon anything but his pain.
    • c. 1593 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Tragedy of Richard the Third: []”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act V, scene iii]:
      I have not that alacrity of spirit
      Nor cheer of mind that I was wont to have.
    • 1837, Charles Dickens, chapter 12, in The Pickwick Papers:
      "I'll get into the clothes this minute, if they're here," said Sam, with great alacrity.
    • 1920, Edward Arlington Robinson, The Three Taverns, "Tasker Norcross":
      You have an overgrown alacrity
      For saying nothing much and hearing less []
    • 1922, Edith Wharton, chapter 24, in The Glimpses of the Moon:
      This evening, however, he was struck by the beaming alacrity of the aide-de-camp's greeting.
  2. Promptness; speed.
    Synonyms: briskness, celerity, haste, promptness, quickness, swiftness
    • 1849, Henry David Thoreau, "On the Duty of Civil Disobedience":
      Yet this government never of itself furthered any enterprise, but by the alacrity with which it got out of its way.
    • 1899 February, Joseph Conrad, “The Heart of Darkness”, in Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine, volume CLXV, number M, New York, N.Y.: The Leonard Scott Publishing Company, [], OCLC 1042815524, part I, page 205, column 2:
      He had a uniform jacket with one button off, and seeing a white man on the path, hoisted his weapon to his shoulder with alacrity.
    • 2019, Tristan, Stack Exchange[1]:
      Not just that, but if the inlet of a turbopump impeller runs dry, it would overspeed with blinding alacrity.

Related terms[edit]