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

Photo: Getty The new deal also requires that 40% to 45% of automotive content be made by workers earning at least $16 per hour, a new provision aimed at shifting production from Mexico back to the U.S. and Canada. Bob Davis, WSJ, "U.S., Mexico and Canada Sign Pact to Replace Nafta," 30 Nov. 2018 And about 40 percent of those cars would have to be made by workers earning at least $16 an hour — three times more than Mexico’s minimum wage for an entire work day. Alexia Fernández Campbell, Vox, "Trump’s new trade deal is better for workers than NAFTA was," 30 Nov. 2018 And like today, many in the 19th Century anti-vaccination movement hailed from large cities, were educated and earned a decent living. Sara Novak, Discover Magazine, "The Long History of America's Anti-Vaccination Movement," 24 Nov. 2018 In 2017, a tax was instated that sent money earned from various fuel taxes to infrastructure projects, like roadway repair. Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "Environmental Measures on the 2018 Midterm Election Ballots You Should Know About," 18 Oct. 2018 Players can mine Iron or earn it in other unspecified ways, then spend it on games at Robot Cache. Hayden Dingman, PCWorld, "Robot Cache, a Steam rival that lets you sell your 'used' games and mine cryptocoins, opens signups," 17 Aug. 2018 The tweet earned him a $20 million fine from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and saw him removed as chairman from the electric carmaker's board. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "SpaceX Completes First Ever Falcon 9 Launch and Landing on the West Coast," 8 Oct. 2018 Research in the Annals of Internal Medicine shows that the threat of losing something, like money, is a more powerful motivator than the promise of earning a future prize. Aviva Patz And Karyn Repinski, Woman's Day, "10 Natural Ways to Lower Your Blood Pressure," 20 Aug. 2018 Moments later, Camille muffling a scream into a pretty pink dress feels well-earned. Emma Dibdin, Harper's BAZAAR, "Sharp Objects Episode 5: Adora Is Officially the Worst Mother Ever," 6 Aug. 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

8 Dec 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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More from Merriam-Webster on earn

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with earn

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for earn

Spanish Central: Translation of earn

Nglish: Translation of earn for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of earn for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about earn

Comments on earn

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