- to gain or get in return for one's labor or service: to earn one's living.
- to merit as compensation, as for service; deserve: to receive more than one has earned.
- to acquire through merit: to earn a reputation for honesty.
- to gain as due return or profit: Savings accounts earn interest.
- to bring about or cause deservedly: His fair dealing earned our confidence.
- to gain income: securities that earn on a quarterly basis.
Origin of earn1
SynonymsSee more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
- to grieve.
Origin of earn2
Examples from the Web for earn
The brokers then scout out potential “crew members” who can earn substantial discounts for working the journey.Ghost Ships of the Mediterranean
Barbie Latza Nadeau
January 6, 2015
“This is a job I knew I had to earn,” he said in an interview.Two Texas Regulators Tried to Enforce the Rules. They Were Fired.
David Hasemyer, InsideClimate News
December 9, 2014
Only about 3.3 million Americans (pdf) earn the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour or less.Staving Off a Democratic Civil War
December 2, 2014
While Collins lost this match, her $9,100 total was enough to earn a Wild Card and advance.Jeopardy! Champion Julia Collins’s Brain Feels Like Mush
November 20, 2014
“In the long run, the government will earn money by granting work permits,” and collecting taxes from undocumented workers.Mother Cabrini, Saint of the Green Card
November 11, 2014
He was very glad to earn money in this way, since it seemed he was to have no fish to dispose of.
It would have taken me more than two years to earn as much money as this.
Under this republic the rewards of industry belong to those who earn them.
In each generation, with toil and tears, we have had to earn our heritage again.
If I cannot find one, I will earn, beg or steal the money to get them printed.Ballads of a Bohemian
Robert W. Service
- to gain or be paid (money or other payment) in return for work or service
- (tr) to acquire, merit, or deserve through behaviour or actionhe has earned a name for duplicity
- (tr) (of securities, investments, etc) to gain (interest, return, profit, etc)
Word Origin and History for earn
Old English earnian "deserve, earn, merit, win, get a reward for labor," from Proto-Germanic *aznojan (cf. Old Frisian esna "reward, pay"), from *azna "labor" especially "field labor" (cf. Old Norse önn "work in the field"), from PIE *aznon "to do harvest work, serve" (cf. Old High German arnon "to reap"), denominative verb from *es-en- "harvest, fall" (cf. Old High German aren "harvest, crop," German Ernte "harvest," Old English ern "harvest," Gothic asans "harvest, summer," Old Church Slavonic jeseni, Russian osen, Old Prussian assanis "autumn").
Also from the same root are Gothic asneis, Old High German esni "hired laborer, day laborer," Old English esne "serf, laborer, man." Related: Earned; earning.
Idioms and Phrases with earn
In addition to the idioms beginning with earn
- earn one's keep
- earn one's stripes
- penny saved is a penny earned