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From Old French celeritee (compare French célérité), from Latin celeritas, from celer (fast, swift).



celerity (usually uncountable, plural celerities)

  1. (literary) Speed.
    • 1851, Herman Melville, chapter 48, in Moby-Dick:
      The phantoms, for so they then seemed, were flitting on the other side of the deck, and, with a noiseless celerity, were casting loose the tackles and bands of the boat which swung there.
    • 1937, Dorothy L. Sayers, chapter 11, in Busman’s Honeymoon:

      “My parsnip wine is really extra good this year. Dr Jellyfield always takes a glass when he comes—which isn’t very often, I’m pleased to say, because my health is always remarkably good.”

      “That will not prevent me from drinking to it,” said Peter, disposing of the parsnip wine with a celerity which might have been due to eagerness but, to Harriet, rather suggested a reluctance to let the draught linger on the palate.

  2. (oceanography) The speed of individual waves (as opposed to the speed of groups of waves).
  3. (hydrology) The speed with which a perturbation to the flow propagates through the flow domain.
    For example, a flood wave moving down a river.