- serious in intention, purpose, or effort; sincerely zealous: an earnest worker.
- showing depth and sincerity of feeling: earnest words; an earnest entreaty.
- seriously important; demanding or receiving serious attention.
- full seriousness, as of intention or purpose: to speak in earnest.
Origin of earnest1
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for earnestness
“That earnestness in the vulnerability that Marcel has, I think maybe it leaks into a lot of my work,” she says.Jenny Slate’s Earnest and Funny Abortion Film ‘Obvious Child’
June 4, 2014
As one of his first questions, Fallon asked Mandel in all earnestness if Mandel had any talent.Can Jimmy Fallon Be Himself on ‘The Tonight Show’?
February 17, 2014
Ryan exuded Midwestern earnestness when Romney picked him, and the press gushed over his P90X workout regimen.Why Paul Ryan’s Star Dimmed
March 21, 2013
We do not doubt the kindness in their hearts nor the earnestness of their intentions.How AIPAC Pushed Us To J Street
Harry Samuels, Simone Zimmerman
March 13, 2013
Earnestness and sincerity, though initially encouraged after the 9/11 Attacks, don't often gain as much traction, Brown added.Best Moments from the Hero Summit
Alex Berg, Jake Heller
November 15, 2012
"That is precisely what I wish them to be," responded Grace, in all earnestness.Grace Harlowe's Return to Overton Campus
Jessie Graham Flower
She spoke quietly enough, but with the earnestness of conviction.Ester Ried Yet Speaking
Earnestness and devotion are the chief characteristics of those pastors.Camps, Quarters and Casual Places
The earnestness of Sarah's manner subdued and almost awed Fanny.Night and Morning, Complete
I have avowed them with an earnestness that I believe is without example: and why?Clarissa, Volume 2 (of 9)
- serious in mind or intentionan earnest student
- showing or characterized by sincerity of intentionan earnest promise
- demanding or receiving serious attention
- in earnest with serious or sincere intentions
- a part or portion of something given in advance as a guarantee of the remainder
- Also called: earnest money contract law something given, usually a nominal sum of money, to confirm a contract
- any token of something to follow; pledge; assurance
Word Origin and History for earnestness
from Old English eornoste (adj.) "zealous," or from Old English noun eornost "seriousness, serious intent" (surviving only in the phrase in earnest), from Proto-Germanic *ern "vigor, briskness" (cf. Old Saxon ernust, Old High German arnust "seriousness, firmness, struggle," German Ernst "seriousness;" Gothic arniba "safely, securely;" Old Norse ern "able, vigorous," jarna "fight, combat"). The proper name Ernest (literally "resolute") is from the same root. Related: Earnestly; earnestness.
Idioms and Phrases with earnestness
see in earnest.