cheerful readiness, promptness, or willingness: We accepted the invitation with alacrity.
Alacrity comes from Middle French alacrite from Latin alacritāt-, the stem of alacritās “liveliness, zeal, enthusiasm.” Alacritās is a derivative noun of the adjective alacer “nimble, brisk, enthusiastic, keen.” Latin alacer develops into Italian allegro and Spanish alegre “cheerful, happy.” Alacrity entered English in the 15th century.
Mrs Tulliver was an amiable fish of this kind, and, after running her head against the same resisting medium for fourteen years, would go at it again to-day with undulled alacrity.
The president has grumbled for months about what he views as Nielsen’s lackluster performance on immigration enforcement and is believed to be looking for a replacement who will implement his policy ideas with more alacrity.
to trick, deceive, swindle, or cheat: A fortuneteller flimflammed her out of her savings.
Flimflam “to trick, deceive, swindle,” shows the same common vowel alteration in a reduplicated word as in mish–mash or pitter–patter. Flimflam may possibly be based on a Scandinavian word, e.g., Old Norse flim “a lampoon, mockery.” Flimflam entered English in the 16th century as a noun meaning “idle talk, nonsense; a cheap deception.” The verb sense “to cheat, swindle,” originally an Americanism, arose in the late 19th century.
Slamming my fist on my writing desk I cursed the day a year before that I’d allowed by friend Eddy Dorobek to flimflam me into buying a used laptop from him and giving up my dead father’s rickety old Underwood portable.
Col. Leonard was there and he knows how they tried to flimflam us.
a condition in which a single word, phrase, or concept has more than one meaning or connotation.
Fast can mean “moving quickly” or “firmly fixed.” The word shows polysemy, which ultimately derives from Greek polýsēmos “having many meanings.” Polýsēmos joins polýs “many, much,” and sêma “sign, mark, token.” Polýs yields the combining form poly-, seen in many English words, such as polygon “many angles” or polytheism “many gods.” Sêma produces another term used, like polysemy, in linguistics: semantics “the study of meaning.” In linguistics, polysemy and semantics were modeled on French polysémie and sémantique. These words were formed in the late 19th century by French linguist Michel Bréal (1832–1915)—a man perhaps better remembered for inspiring the modern Olympic marathon in 1896. Polysemy entered English in the 1920s.
Twenty-three alternate meanings for it are listed in English alone—it is, the editors say, a model of “polysemy,” packing multiple meanings into a single sign … .
This rich polysemy of language is the basis for William Empson’s first type of poetic ambiguity: “when a detail is effective in several ways at once.”