Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Cheerful willingness; eagerness.
  • n. Speed or quickness; celerity.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Eagerness; liveliness; enthusiasm.
  • n. Promptness; speed.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A cheerful readiness, willingness, or promptitude; joyous activity; briskness; sprightliness.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Liveliness; briskness; sprightliness.
  • n. Cheerful readiness or promptitude; cheerful willingness.
  • n. Hence Readiness; quickness; swiftness.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. liveliness and eagerness

Etymologies

Latin alacritās, from alacer, lively.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Coined between 1500 and 1510 from Latin alacritās, from alacer ("brisk") + -itas ("-ity"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The party gathered itself up with alacrity from the grass.

    A Little Bush Maid

  • Moreover, simply recall the alacrity with which President Bush and his spin operatives seized upon each of these so-called "milestones" to fling Panglossian excrement into the collective eyes of America's dupes, in order to rationalize away a lost war and all the unnecessary blood on his hands.

    Bush's Iraq Quagmire: "Lions Led By Donkeys"

  • Finally someone (we hope it was not Judith) called her number -- sixty-eight, and she sprang to the chalk line with what is usually termed alacrity, but it really sounded much more ominous.

    Jane Allen, Junior

  • And what added to our alacrity was our expectation of meeting with two of them instead of one, for we took it for granted that the light in view was carried in the top of one ship for a direction to her consort.

    Anson's Voyage Round the World The Text Reduced

  • At one cross-road a dozen American Red Cross cars were drawn up, and I recall the alacrity of a middle-aged American doctor, wearing gold pince-nez, in hopping off his ambulance and snapshotting the colonel at the head of the battery.

    Pushed and the Return Push

  • At the call, not only his own waiter, but two other idle waiters belonging to a quite different row of tables, rushed towards him with obsequious alacrity, which is not the general characteristic of the waiters in the Café Umberto.

    A Set of Six

  • Franklin got up at once and walked away beside her, and Althea knew that his alacrity was the greater because he felt that by going with Miss Buckston he left her alone with her cherished friend.

    Franklin Kane

  • At the call, not only his own waiter, but two other idle waiters belonging to a quite different row of tables, rushed towards him with obsequious alacrity, which is not the general characteristic of the waiters in the Cafe Umberto.

    A Set of Six

  • And you may know by my size that I have a kind of alacrity in sinking; if the bottom were as deep as hell, I should down.

    Editorial Notes to 'Letter to the Women of England'

  • It can't happen with that kind of alacrity without real effort on the part of the business community, and I would say the community has defaulted to government in the last little while and allowed government to take the lead.

    What Price, Green?

Comments

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  • 'Eifer'

    S: Eagerness, Willingness, Enthusiasm, Readiness, Promptness, Speed

    A: Lethargy, Unwillingness, Lazyness, Indifference, Discouragement

    October 25, 2013

  • Even the owner of the smallest enterprise acts with alacrity. The shoeshine boy flips his polishing rag with alacrity, the bartender serves a beer with alacrity, sliding it up to you along the polished surface of the bar.

    Charles Chaplin, My Autobiography

    December 29, 2011

  • Perhaps two years passing by before another comment is added indicates that the previous definition, though exhaustive, does not inspire alacrity?

    December 18, 2008

  • alacrity, noun. From the Latin alacritas, meaning promptitude, and alacer, lively. Similar in meaning to its synonyms velocity and celerity, all three mean quickness in action or movement. Alacrity stresses promptness in response to a suggestion or command, cheerful and eager willingness, appropriate quickness, and in general the beginning of fast movement.

    December 13, 2006