- money given by a buyer to a seller to bind a contract.
Origin of earnest money
First recorded in 1550–60
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for earnest money
Well, if there is to be no earnest-money, at least we will have the vodka.
By this time Mr. Grewgious had his agreement-lines, and his earnest-money, ready.The Mystery of Edwin Drood
He said no word as to his birth, but asked him leave to trade on his lands, offering a ring as earnest-money.The Red Romance Book
I congratulated myself on having taken the packet and paid the earnest-money, and went to bed.The Memoires of Casanova, Complete
Jacques Casanova de Seingalt
She will be glad to hear the news, and shake hands on the bargain, and christen the earnest-money with vodka.