Word of The Day for Saturday, November 27, 2010


ce•ler•i•ty (suh-LER-i-tee)  adj

swiftness of action or motion; speed

1480–90; from M.Fr. célérité (14c.), from L. celeritatem (nom. celeritas) "swiftness," from celer "swift," from possible PIE base *kel- "to drive, set in swift motion"

Synonyms: alacrity, briskness, dispatch, expedition, expeditiousness, fleetness, haste, hurry, hustle, legerity, promptness, quickness, rapidity, speed, speediness, swiftness, velocity
Related Words: acceleration

Sentence Examples:
• Many thanks for the promptness with which you have answered that you will execute the order. Much--perhaps all--depends upon the celerity with which you can execute it. Put the utmost speed into it. Do not lose a minute. -Telegram to General JC Fremont, Abraham Lincoln, 1862

• At last Roy saw the reason for her fright. On the edge of the shed roof, lashing his tail in ludicrous ferocity, crouched a half-grown cat, and under his claws lay a tiny young white rabbit. Roy looked hurriedly about for a stick, but nothing of the description lay at hand. Meanwhile the red-haired girl taunted him to action, interspersing wails of despair with pleas for help and sprinkling the whole with uncomplimentary reflections on his courage and celerity.
"Aren't you going to do anything?" she wailed. "Are you going to stand there all night? Oh, please, please rescue him!"
The reflection on Roy's celerity weren't at all merited, for scarcely a quarter of a minute had passed since his advent. But if "the baby" was to be rescued there was no time to lose. -The Crimson Sweater, Ralph Henry Barbour

• For he was a large man, even among Cornish fishermen, and his feet were in his heavy fishing-boots, and his nature was slow and irresolute until his mind was fully made up. Then nothing could move him or turn him, and he acted with that irresistible celerity which springs from an invincible determination. -A Singer from the Sea, Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr

The Storyline
And once so roused, she accomplished her daily ablutions with all due celerity.

Why This Word:
Well, it is a beautiful word. Even though celerity means swiftness of action, it seems to have a connotation of aptitude, making it more appropriate to use when talking about accomplishing a task, then running a race, although I see no reason why it wouldn't be used in the later sense. Celerity also seems to imply not being too fast, hurried or rushed - quick, but effective.

Sources: Free Dictionary, Online Etymology

Word-E: A Word-A-Day

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