A Dictionary of the English Language
                        A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson
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Eager

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Eáger. adj. [eaʒor, Saxon; aigre, French.]

  1. Struck with desire; ardently wishing; keenly desirous; vehement in desire; hotly longing.

    Of action eager, and intent of thought,
    The chiefs your honourable danger sought.
    Dryden's Ovid.

    Eager to read the rest, Achates came. Dryden's Æn.

    With joy th' ambitious youth his mother heard,
    And eager for the journey soon prepar'd;
    He longs the world beneath him to survey,
    To guide the chariot, and to give the day.
    Dryden.

    Love inflam'd, and eager on his bliss,
    Smother'd her words.
    Addison's Ovid's Metam. b. ii.

  2. It is used sometimes with of, sometimes with on or after before the thing sought.

  3. Hot of disposition; vehement; ardent; impetuous.

    Apt as well to quicken the spirits as to allay that which is too eager. Hooker, b. v. s. 38.

    Nor do the eager clamours of disputants yield more relief to eclipsed truth, than did the sounding brass of old to the labouring moon. Glanv. Sceps. c. 19.

    This is not a general character of women, but a reproof of some eager spirited gipsies. L'Estrange.

    Imperfect zeal is hot and eager, without knowledge. Spratt.

                                  Palemon replies,
    Eager his tone, and ardent were his eyes.
    Dryden.

    A man, charged with a crime of which he thinks himself innocent, is apt to be too eager in his own defence. Dryden.

  4. Quick; busy; easily put in action.

                          His Numidian genius
    Is well dispos'd to mischief, were he prompt
    And eager on it; but he must be spurr'd.
    Addison's Cato.

  5. Sharp; sower; acid.

              With a sudden vigour it doth posset
    And curd, like eager droppings into milk,
    The thin and wholsome blood.
    Shakespeare's Hamlet.

  6. Keen; severe; biting.

    The air bites shrewdly; it is very cold.
    — It is a nipping and an eager air.
    Shakespeare's Hamlet.

    The resistance of bone to cold is greater than of flesh; for that the flesh shrinketh, but the bone resisteth, whereby the cold becometh more eager. Bacon's Natural History, № 688.

  7. Brittle; inflexible; not ductile. A cant word of artificers.

    Gold will be sometimes so eager, as artists call it, that it will as little endure the hammer as glass itself. Locke.

Sources: Addison, Joseph (408) · Bacon, Francis (396) · Dryden, John (788) · Granville, George (23) · Shakespeare's Hamlet (60) · Hooker, Richard (175) · L'Estrange, Roger (131) · Locke, John (269) · Sprat, Thomas (20)

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Cite this page: Johnson, Samuel. "Eager." A Dictionary of the English Language: A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson. Edited by Brandi Besalke. Last modified: January 5, 2013. http://johnsonsdictionaryonline.com/?p=3894.


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