- any identifying or distinguishing mark or characteristic: The mayor's statement had all the earmarks of dirty politics.
- a mark of identification made on the ear of an animal to show ownership.
- a provision in a piece of Congressional legislation that directs specified federal funds to specific projects, programs, organizations, or individuals: Lawmakers requested almost 40,000 earmarks worth more than $100 billion directed to their home districts and states.Compare pork barrel.
- to set aside for a specific purpose, use, recipient, etc.: to earmark goods for export.
- to mark with an earmark.
Origin of earmark
Examples from the Web for earmarked
As of Nov. 3, only $110 million had been earmarked for the region—most of which has yet to arrive.Fighting Ebola and Starvation in Sierra Leone
November 5, 2014
About $10 billion was earmarked to build a bridge across the Kerch Strait, with its unpredictable currents during spring floods.Putin's Crimea Is a Big Anti-Gay Casino
September 8, 2014
Particular bars and nightclubs are earmarked as gay-friendly despite the crackdown, members told The Daily Beast.Al-Sisi’s Egypt Is Worse For Gays Than The Muslim Brotherhood
June 28, 2014
The money Salye thought was earmarked for the purchase—90 million deutschmarks—disappeared.How Did Cyprus Get So Bad?
March 19, 2013
The argument for petitioners is that the tax moneys are not earmarked, and that Congress is at liberty to spend them as it will.The Wall Street Journal: Unwitting Advocates of Single-Payer
March 29, 2012
I earmarked Charlie for a raise and a better job right there.Letters from a Self-Made Merchant to His Son
George Horace Lorimer
The other three thousand were earmarked for office expenses.Sanders of the River
It would not be necessary, perhaps, that such gold should be "earmarked."Readings in Money and Banking
Chester Arthur Phillips
Even in that case an earmarked subsidy would be out of place.The Framework of Home Rule
Other sums, greater in quantity than those contained in the packets, were earmarked in the same way.She Stands Accused
- to set aside or mark out for a specific purpose
- to make an identification mark on the ear of (a domestic animal)
- a mark of identification on the ear of a domestic animal
- any distinguishing mark or characteristic
Word Origin and History for earmarked
1590s, "to identify by an earmark," from earmark (n.). Meaning "to set aside money for a special purpose" is attested by 1868. Related: Earmarked; earmarking.