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in earnest

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1

With purposeful or sincere intent, as in We settled down to study in earnest. [c. a.d. 1000]

2

Also, in dead earnest. Serious, determined, as in We thought he was joking, but he was in earnest, or I'm in dead earnest about selling the business. In the variant, from the late 1800s, dead means “completely” or “thoroughly” and is used purely for emphasis. [c. a.d. 1000]

QUIZ
SHALL WE PLAY A "SHALL" VS. "SHOULD" CHALLENGE?
Should you take this quiz on “shall” versus “should”? It should prove to be a quick challenge!
Question 1 of 6
Which form is used to state an obligation or duty someone has?
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

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