verb (1)
\ˈərn \
earned; earning; earns

Definition of earn 

(Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to receive as return for effort and especially for work done or services rendered

b : to bring in by way of return bonds earning 10 percent interest

2a : to come to be duly worthy of or entitled or suited to she earned a promotion

b : to make worthy of or obtain for the suggestion earned him a promotion


verb (2)
earned; earning; earns

Definition of earn (Entry 2 of 2)

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Other Words from earn

Verb (1)

earner noun

Examples of earn in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

For example, extensive licensing requirements have shielded many higher-earning occupations from competition from immigrants. The Economist, "Worker shortages could heal America’s economy," 12 July 2018 This weeding out of vocational and low-earning students has consequences. James Atlas, Town & Country, "Is a College Education Even Worth It Anymore?," 10 July 2018 But Bieber’s catchy hits aren’t the only thing that's earned him his A-list status. refinery29.com, "You Won't Believe How Much Justin Bieber's Hair Has Changed," 10 July 2018 Higher-earning spouses could afford to be more generous in the past, thanks to the tax write-off that came with supporting an ex. Brittany Shoot, Fortune, "Financial Planners Are Warning Wealthy Clients That Trump's Tax Reform Is Making Divorce Much More Expensive," 9 July 2018 His tricks and aerial showmanship has earned him notoriety in the drone community. Ahalya Srikant, WIRED, "Photo of the Week: Taking to the Sky to End Open-Water Salmon Farms," 9 July 2018 Finally, millennials are still in their early wage-earning years, averaging about $35,000 per year. Tim Carman, chicagotribune.com, "Millennials tip the least, but it may not be for the reasons you think," 7 July 2018 Her outstanding seasons in both field hockey and lacrosse earned her the 2018 Towson Times Female Athlete of the Year award. Craig Clary, baltimoresun.com, "Dulaney High's Maggie Kelly is Towson Times Female Athlete of the Year," 13 July 2018 The first gathers the ethereal glass cubes made by Bell, a renowned California Light and Space artist whose attention to material, transparency and reflection have earned him a spot in the pantheon of minimalism. Carolina A. Miranda, latimes.com, "Datebook: Shots of old Route 66, dreamlike paintings and garments fashioned from paper," 12 July 2018

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

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First Known Use of earn

Verb (1)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb (2)

circa 1530, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for earn

Verb (1)

Middle English ernen, from Old English earnian; akin to Old High German arnōn to reap, Czech jeseň autumn

Verb (2)

probably alteration of yearn

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Statistics for earn

Last Updated

13 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for earn

The first known use of earn was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for earn


\ˈərn \
earned; earning

Kids Definition of earn

1 : to get for work done She earns her pay.

2 : to deserve as a result of labor or service He earned good grades.

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Comments on earn

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


a state of commotion or excitement

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