keen or ardent in desire or feeling; impatiently longing: I am eager for news about them. He is eager to sing.
characterized by or revealing great earnestness: an eager look.
Obsolete. keen; sharp; biting.

Origin of eager

1250–1300; Middle English egre < Anglo-French, Old French egre, aigre < Vulgar Latin *ācrus for Latin ācer sharp
Related formsea·ger·ly, adverbea·ger·ness, noun

Synonyms for eager

1. enthusiastic, desirous. See avid. 2. fervent, zealous, fervid, intent, intense, earnest.

Antonyms for eager

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for eagerness

Contemporary Examples of eagerness

Historical Examples of eagerness

  • Obstacles will only increase his eagerness and multiply his artifices.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • But the eagerness was all gone from his, and only the pallor left.


    Thomas Wentworth Higginson

  • And it was with eagerness that I accepted the touching invitation.

  • She opened her eyes with a gleam of eagerness to hear the words.

  • In his eagerness, he saw no one save the woman whom he loved.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

British Dictionary definitions for eagerness




(postpositive; often foll by to or for) impatiently desirous (of); anxious or avid (for)he was eager to see her departure
characterized by or feeling expectancy or great desirean eager look
archaic tart or biting; sharp
Derived Formseagerly, adverbeagerness, noun

Word Origin for eager

C13: from Old French egre, from Latin acer sharp, keen




a variant spelling of eagre
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for eagerness



late 13c., "strenuous, ardent, fierce, angry," from Old French aigre "sour, acid; harsh, bitter, rough; eager greedy; lively, active, forceful," from Latin acrem (nominative acer) "keen, sharp, pointed, piercing; acute, ardent, zealous" (see acrid).

Meaning "full of keen desire" (early 14c.) seems to be peculiar to English. The English word kept an alternative meaning of "pungent, sharp-edged" till 19c. (e.g. Shakespeare's "The bitter clamour of two eager tongues," in "Richard II"). Related: Eagerly; eagerness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper