ear·​mark | \ ˈir-ˌmärk How to pronounce earmark (audio) \

Definition of earmark

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a mark of identification on the ear of an animal
2 : a distinguishing mark all the earmarks of poverty
3 : a provision in Congressional legislation that allocates a specified amount of money for a specific project, program, or organization


earmarked; earmarking; earmarks

Definition of earmark (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to mark (livestock) with an earmark
b : to mark in a distinguishing manner
2 : to designate (something, such as funds) for a specific use or owner money earmarked for education

Examples of earmark in a Sentence

Verb The project uses funds that had been earmarked for education. the earnings from my second job have been earmarked for a down payment on a car
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The biggest health care earmark of all actually went to another southern institution: the medical school at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Nicholas Florko, STAT, 4 May 2022 From the dock, the visitors drove up to the village health clinic, which was upgraded after a $37.5 million congressional earmark in the late 1990s. Nathaniel Herz, Anchorage Daily News, 21 Apr. 2022 In 2008, Congress asked the Justice Department to investigate Young’s role in securing a $10 million earmark to widen a Florida highway; the matter was dropped in 2010, and Young denied any wrongdoing. Becky Bohrer, BostonGlobe.com, 18 Mar. 2022 The earmark was included in the $1.5 trillion omnibus federal spending bill approved Thursday night by the U.S. Senate. Bill Glauber, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 14 Mar. 2022 The $220 billion deal’s most egregious earmark is $600 million to help Ms. Hochul’s hometown football team, the Buffalo Bills, build a new stadium. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 11 Apr. 2022 And there’s one earmark that has the backing of all four Utah representatives. Matt Canham, The Salt Lake Tribune, 10 May 2021 In 2008, Congress asked the Justice Department to investigate Young’s role in securing a $10 million earmark to widen a Florida highway; the matter was dropped in 2010, and Young denied any wrongdoing. Becky Bohrer, BostonGlobe.com, 18 Mar. 2022 Inside, expect 1940s design and tight confines to be the earmark of the building design of the age. Tim Newcomb, Popular Mechanics, 15 Mar. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The bill also would earmark $750 million to provide incentive grants to provide three free months of free public transportation and a $439-million pause to the state’s diesel sales tax. Nathan Solis, Los Angeles Times, 13 May 2022 Or at least earmark some of that ridiculous money for other, more worthwhile university endeavors. Paul Daugherty, The Enquirer, 10 May 2022 The online betting measure would earmark 85% of the online betting tax dollars for homelessness and mental health support, while 15% would go to tribes not participating in the marketplace. Lance Pugmire, USA TODAY, 4 May 2022 The Biden administration’s decision to place thousands of U.S. troops on high alert and earmark them for potential NATO duty is significant for three reasons. John R. Deni, WSJ, 26 Jan. 2022 Ledwith wants to earmark $3 million toward the start of a long-term plan for improving the air-circulation system at the elementary schools. Don Stacom, courant.com, 8 Mar. 2022 The Biden administration would also earmark almost $82 billion over five years on preparing for another pandemic and for biodefense, including investing in the making of vaccines. Amara Omeokwe, WSJ, 28 Mar. 2022 But the request, as connected to a StartEngine fundraising campaign, doesn't clearly earmark any of its $5 million toward paying down the company's considerable debts. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, 8 Feb. 2022 State lawmakers are expected to consider legislation that would earmark $5 million to help police and fire agencies provide mental health resources to its employees. Jessica Miller, The Salt Lake Tribune, 21 Jan. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'earmark.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of earmark


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1591, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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The first known use of earmark was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

21 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Earmark.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/earmark. Accessed 26 May. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on earmark

Nglish: Translation of earmark for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about earmark


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