Alacrity is a noun. It found its way into the English language near the beginning of the 16th century. It comes from the Latin world Alacri, which means “Lively.” Alacrity has two related meanings. Its first meaning is an eagerness and passion. The second meaning is fast and agile. During the 1500s, the word became synonymous with “fast,” “agile,” and “energetic.”
Today, the word usually isn’t meant literally. While several hundred years ago, “He has alacrity” meant that someone was nimble and quick, able to move and act with great speed and energy. The word is often associated with animals. Rabbits, for example, were well-known for their alacrity. Rabbits cannot only move fast, but they can go from zero to high speed in a fraction of a second, and it never seems to tire them out.
In modern times, “Alacrity” is rarely used to mean physical speed. Rather, you would say “She has alacrity” to refer to someone who was ambitious, someone who works hard and doesn’t seem to get tired.
Today, the word alacrity is less literal. The word essentially means the same thing that it did five hundred years ago. Except today, people use it to mean a way someone behaves. Five hundred years ago, it was just another way of saying “Fast and energetic.”
Alacrity is often used to mean enthusiasm. If someone possesses alacrity, they don’t do things halfway—when they do something they, throw all of their weight into it.
In this video, we see both meanings of the word alacrity. This little Pomeranian and this cat have a lot of speed and agility, a lot of physical alacrity, running and jumping around their back yard. Cats and dogs don’t always play so well together, but these two seem like longtime friends. Jon Snow the puppy Pomeranian shows off his alacrity by running and jumping into the cat Bella with great speed and agility. Luckily, Bella the cat has as much alacrity, in both sense of the word, as the puppy. So when she gets tackled, it doesn’t slow down Bella one bit; she just wants to get back to their game of tag.