earmark

noun
ear·mark | \ ˈir-ˌmärk \

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

earmark

verb
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

Keep scrolling for more

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 House Rules Committee will convene hearings this month on earmarks, House aides said. Josh Dawsey, Washington Post, "Trump cools to idea of taking on welfare programs, seeing little chance of success in Congress," 5 Jan. 2018 At the very least, the earmark could provide Rail Link supporters with more political leverage in their quest. Jon Chesto, BostonGlobe.com, "North South Rail Link scores a Beacon Hill win," 7 June 2018 But that's not happening in 2018 and 2019 has all the earmarks of a full-on rebuild season. Stefan Stevenson, star-telegram, "Astros hold on against Rangers but Shin-Soo Choo stretches on-base streak to 43 games," 3 July 2018 But Allen says those grants have dried up in the past five years as Johnson County redirected those earmarks to building a handful of moderate-income home-ownership properties. Lynn Horsley, kansascity, "JoCo agency gave low-income residents a lifeline. Now it's shutting down," 1 July 2018 The on-again, off-again summit meeting scheduling had all the earmarks of a television cliffhanger from a president who made a name for himself hosting a reality show on NBC for 14 years, only this time there were deadly serious consequences. Peter Baker, New York Times, "Trump Announces Summit Meeting With Kim Jong-un Is Back on," 1 June 2018 The Legislature sent a bonding bill on Thursday to Baker that includes a long wish list of earmarks. BostonGlobe.com, "Life sciences bill sent to the governor," 8 June 2018 Nancy Oganovich, congressional reporter for Bloomberg Government, discusses the potential return of earmarks, which fund lawmakers’ local spending projects and were killed by then-House speaker John Boehner. Bloomberg.com, "Earmarks Make a Comeback in Trump’s Washington (Audio)," 10 Jan. 2018 Intensive anti-gang programs in the Virginia suburbs were cut 85 percent, a casualty of Congress’s elimination of earmarks. Dara Lind, Vox, "MS-13, explained," 21 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The money was earmarked for Democrat Doug Jones, who was running for U.S. Senate in her home state of Alabama. Bryan Lowry, kansascity, "‘His social views were liberal.’ Candidate met with Dems before launching GOP run," 13 July 2018 The most important artifacts and memorabilia — including an imposing statue of the Confederate general himself — have been earmarked for future display in a small museum in the school’s library, a space expected to be renovated by December. Lauren Caruba, San Antonio Express-News, "Lee High School’s mountain of memories to be auctioned," 11 July 2018 The government will use some of the proceeds from selling stakes to pay down debt, and earmark the rest for a €10 billion ($12 billion) fund Mr. Macron is building for innovation. William Horobin, WSJ, "Macron Pushes to Privatize State Assets in Big Philosophical Shift," 13 June 2018 According to the Chronicle, Benitez is planning to free up funds by overhauling his squad this summer, with Mitrovic earmarked for the exit. SI.com, "Rafa Benitez Set to Overhaul Newcastle Squad in Summer With Striker Set for Exit," 22 May 2018 The Edinburg funds, left to the museum in her will, were earmarked for new art purchases. Steve Johnson, chicagotribune.com, "Art Institute lands largest cash donation, $70 million in total," 17 Apr. 2018 When criminal defendants who cannot afford a lawyer are assigned to the public defender’s office, they are charged a $50 application fee, $49 of which is earmarked for the office. Rafael Olmeda, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Public defender says his office is shortchanged on fee collections," 27 Jan. 2018 The budget was also strained when money earmarked for the downtown extension was used to instead help pay for the structure now being completed above ground. John King, SFChronicle.com, "S.F.’s long-awaited Salesforce Transit Center sets opening date for Aug. 12," 10 July 2018 Kristin Smith Shrimplin, the chief executive of Women Helping Women, a group that helps victims of domestic violence in the Cincinnati area, said she was encouraged that the league had earmarked some of the $2.75 million to these groups. New York Times, "Without Disclosing Details, N.F.L. Fines Jerry Richardson for Sexual Harassment and Racist Comments," 28 June 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of earmark

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1591, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about earmark

Phrases Related to earmark

have (all) the earmarks

Statistics for earmark

Last Updated

12 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for earmark

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for earmark

earmark

verb

Financial Definition of earmark

What It Is

Earmarking refers to the act of setting aside funds for special purposes or specific projects. Companies and governments earmark funds frequently.

How It Works

For example, let's assume Company XYZ issues $100 million of bonds and that $20 million of it is earmarked for the construction of a new factory. This means that Company XYZ intends to set aside $20 million of the proceeds (perhaps even in a separate bank account) for the factory capital expenditures.

In a bankruptcy situation, the "earmarking doctrine" allows borrowers -- just before filing for bankruptcy -- to make payments to creditors with funds given to the borrower by another creditor. These funds are earmarked in that they are dedicated to paying off a particular creditor and thus aren't technically part of the borrower's property. The earmarking doctrine requires these types of transfers to have a written agreement from all three parties, and the borrower cannot have control over the funds.

Why It Matters

In the corporate world, earmarking is essentially a way of organizing and allocating money.

In government, however, earmarking also comes with a good deal of controversy because the earmark language is often embedded in unrelated legislation and approved or rejected for reasons other than the merits (or lack thereof) of the earmarks.

[InvestingAnswers Feature: The Most Absurd Pork Barrel Spending Projects of 2010]

Source: Investing Answers

earmark

noun

English Language Learners Definition of earmark

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a mark or quality that shows what something is or what it could be

earmark

verb

English Language Learners Definition of earmark (Entry 2 of 2)

: to say that something will be used or treated in a specified way

: to put (money) aside for a special purpose

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on earmark

What made you want to look up earmark? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

alleviating pain or harshness

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!