Dictionary

1earnest

noun ear·nest \ˈər-nəst\

Definition of EARNEST

1
:  a serious and intent mental state <a proposal made in earnest>
2
:  a considerable or impressive degree or amount <the sap started running in earnest>
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Examples of EARNEST

  1. The sidewalks were crowded as women and men argued and bargained with each other as the shopping day began in earnest. —Harold Robbins, The Storyteller, 1985

Origin of EARNEST

Middle English ernest, from Old English eornost; akin to Old High German ernust earnest
First Known Use: before 12th century

2earnest

adjective ear·nest \ˈər-nəst\

: serious and sincere : not lighthearted or playful

Full Definition of EARNEST

1
:  characterized by or proceeding from an intense and serious state of mind
2
ear·nest·ly adverb
ear·nest·ness \-nəs(t)-nəs\ noun

Examples of EARNEST

  1. an earnest plea for help
  2. <I'll accept only an earnest apology from you.>
  3. Barnum's antics provoked tongue-in-cheek reporting and nods and winks in the newspapers, but no earnest cries of humbug. The artful deceiver turned fraud into family fun. —Jackson Lears, New Republic, 12 Nov. 2001

Origin of EARNEST

(see 1earnest)
First Known Use: before 12th century

Synonym Discussion of EARNEST

serious, grave, solemn, sedate, staid, sober, earnest mean not light or frivolous. serious implies a concern for what really matters <a serious play about social injustice>. grave implies both seriousness and dignity in expression or attitude <read the proclamation in a grave voice>. solemn suggests an impressive gravity utterly free from levity <a sad and solemn occasion>. sedate implies a composed and decorous seriousness <remained sedate amid the commotion>. staid suggests a settled, accustomed sedateness and prim self-restraint <a quiet and staid community>. sober stresses seriousness of purpose and absence of levity or frivolity <a sober look at the state of our schools>. earnest suggests sincerity or often zealousness of purpose <an earnest reformer>.

3earnest

noun ear·nest \ˈər-nəst\

Definition of EARNEST

1
:  something of value given by a buyer to a seller to bind a bargain
2
:  a token of what is to come :  pledge

Examples of EARNEST

  1. … the cruiser Aurora, manned by Bolsheviks and anchored in the Neva, announced that it would open fire on the Winter Palace, and fired a few blank charges as an earnest of its resolve. —Martin Gilbert, The First World War, (1994) 1995

Origin of EARNEST

Middle English ernes, ernest, from Anglo-French arres, erres, plural of erre earnest, from Latin arra, short for arrabo, from Greek arrhabōn, of Semitic origin; akin to Hebrew ʽērābhōn pledge
First Known Use: 13th century

Other Business Terms

amortize, caveat emptor, clearinghouse, divest, due diligence, emolument, green-collar, marque, overhead, perquisite
EARNESTNESSES Defined for Kids

earnest

adjective ear·nest \ˈər-nəst\

Definition of EARNEST for Kids

:  not light or playful <We received an earnest request for help.>
ear·nest·ly adverb
ear·nest·ness noun

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July 29, 2015
indomitable Hear it
incapable of being subdued or conquered
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