See more synonyms for unearned on Thesaurus.com
  1. not received in exchange for labor or services; not gained by lawful work or employment.
  2. not earned; unmerited; undeserved: unearned promotion.
  3. not yet earned: Lenders are not permitted to take borrowers' unearned wages as collateral.

Origin of unearned

Middle English word dating back to 1150–1200; see origin at un-1, earn1, -ed2
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for unearned

unwarranted, unmerited

Examples from the Web for unearned

Contemporary Examples of unearned

Historical Examples of unearned

  • But, you may rightly say, this will not eliminate the unearned incomes.


    John Spargo

  • Like Henry George we both understand the value of unearned increment.

  • God's gift is to be received as purely His gift, undeserved, unearned by us.

  • And far away, Earth could rest in unearned safety for a while.


    Lester del Rey

  • He was deprived by it of nothing except, perhaps, an "unearned increment."

    Between the Lines

    Henry Bascom Smith

British Dictionary definitions for unearned


  1. not deserved
  2. not yet earned
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

Word Origin and History for unearned

c.1200, from un- (1) "not" + past participle of earn. Unearned income is recorded from 1889.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper