Dictionary.com

earnest

1
[ ur-nist ]
/ ˈɜr nɪst /
Save This Word!
See synonyms for: earnest / earnests / earnestly / earnestness on Thesaurus.com

adjective

serious and zealous in intention, purpose, or effort: an earnest worker.
showing depth and sincerity of feeling: earnest words; an earnest entreaty.
seriously important; demanding or receiving serious attention.

noun

seriousness and zealousness: to speak in earnest.

QUIZZES

QUIZ YOURSELF ON THE MANY TYPES OF NOUNS

They're everywhere you turn, but can you identify the 10 types of nouns easily? This quiz will test your mettle against singular, plural, concrete, abstract, common, proper, collective, compound, countable, and uncountable nouns!
Question 1 of 7
Shoelaces, rainbow, toothpaste, and haircuts are all what type of noun?

Meet Grammar Coach

Write or paste your essay, email, or story into Grammar Coach and get grammar helpImprove Your Writing

Meet Grammar Coach

Improve Your Writing
Write or paste your essay, email, or story into Grammar Coach and get grammar help

Origin of earnest

1
First recorded before 1000; Middle English erneste, Old English eornoste (adjective); Middle English ernest, Old English eornost (noun); cognate with Dutch, German ernest

synonym study for earnest

1. Earnest, resolute, serious, sincere imply having qualities of depth and firmness. Earnest implies having a purpose and being steadily and soberly eager in pursuing it: an earnest student. Resolute adds a quality of determination: resolute in defending the right. Serious implies having depth and a soberness of attitude that contrasts with gaiety and frivolity; it may include the qualities of both earnestness and resolution: serious and thoughtful. Sincere suggests genuineness, trustworthiness, and absence of superficiality: a sincere interest in music.

OTHER WORDS FROM earnest

ear·nest·ly, adverbear·nest·ness, noun

Definition for earnest (2 of 2)

earnest2
[ ur-nist ]
/ ˈɜr nɪst /

noun

a portion of something, given or done in advance as a pledge of the remainder.
anything that gives pledge, promise, or indication of what is to follow.

Origin of earnest

2
1175–1225; Middle English ernes(t), alteration of Old French erres, plural of erre earnest money <Latin arr(h)a short for arr(h)abō (perhaps by taking -bō as a future tense ending) <Greek arrhabṓn<Semitic (compare Hebrew ʿērābhōn security, pledge). Cf. arras2
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

Example sentences from the Web for earnest

British Dictionary definitions for earnest (1 of 2)

earnest1
/ (ˈɜːnɪst) /

adjective

serious in mind or intentionan earnest student
showing or characterized by sincerity of intentionan earnest promise
demanding or receiving serious attention

noun

seriousness
in earnest with serious or sincere intentions

Derived forms of earnest

earnestly, adverbearnestness, noun

Word Origin for earnest

Old English eornost; related to Old High German ernust seriousness, Old Norse ern energetic, efficient, Gothic arniba secure

British Dictionary definitions for earnest (2 of 2)

earnest2
/ (ˈɜːnɪst) /

noun

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 for earnest

C13: from Old French erres pledges, plural of erre earnest money, from Latin arrha, shortened from arrabō pledge, from Greek arrabon, from Hebrew `ērābhōn pledge, from `ārabh he pledged
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Idioms and Phrases with earnest

earnest

see in earnest.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.
FEEDBACK