- 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 for earnest on Thesaurus.com
- a portion of something, given or done in advance as a pledge of the remainder.
- Law. earnest money.
- anything that gives pledge, promise, or indication of what is to follow.
Origin of earnest2
Examples from the Web for earnest
It almost makes you wonder if Lizard Squad did this just to annoy Anonymous and the other earnest champions of privacy.The Attack on the Hidden Internet
December 29, 2014
The US first considered the idea in the 1820s, but interest was revived in earnest after the California Gold Rush began in 1849.China’s Nicaragua Canal Could Spark a New Central America Revolution
November 30, 2014
Few politicians garner the celebrity that Senator Booker does, and fewer still seem so earnest and human while doing it.Talking Tofurky With Newly Vegan Cory Booker
November 26, 2014
“The president often says only the tough issues reach his desk,” Earnest said with half a smile.The Coming GOP Freakout Over Immigration
November 20, 2014
Tragically, Cary did not live to complete the second volume, and in 2000 I began work in earnest on this book.This Republican Loved Taxes & Modern Art
November 19, 2014
As Philothea turned towards her companion, she met Aspasia's earnest gaze.Philothea
Lydia Maria Child
She had feared he might rush his proposal through that night; he had been so much in earnest.
But I came in time to see that he was not as earnest as I had been.
They would serve to shew me, she was pleased to say, how much in earnest my father was.
Nor will any body else believe you in earnest in the offer, if I would.
- 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 earnest
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 earnest
see in earnest.