Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for March 30, 2021 is:

alacrity • uh-LAK-ruh-tee  • noun

: promptness in response : cheerful readiness


“Tom gave up the brush with reluctance in his face, but alacrity in his heart. And while the late steamer Big Missouri worked and sweated in the sun, the retired artist sat on a barrel in the shade close by, dangled his legs, munched his apple….” — Mark Twain, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, 1876

“The Barred Owl will quietly sit on a branch until some unsuspecting victim passes by, and then silently and with alacrity, this owl will swoop down for the coup de grâce.” — Ginna Parsons, The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal (Tupelo, Mississippi), 14 Feb. 2021

Did you know?

“I have not that alacrity of spirit / Nor cheer of mind that I was wont to have,” says William Shakespeare’s King Richard III in the play that bears his name. Alacrity derives from the Latin word alacer, meaning “lively” or “eager.” It denotes physical quickness coupled with eagerness or enthusiasm. Are there any other words in English from Latin alacer? Yes—allegro, which is used as a direction in music with the meaning “at a brisk lively tempo.” It came to English via Italian (where it can mean “merry”) and is assumed to be ultimately from alacer.

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