\ ˈərn How to pronounce earn (audio) \
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
earned; earning; earns

Definition of earn (Entry 2 of 2)

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Other Words from earn

Verb (1)

earner noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for earn

Synonyms: Verb (1)

Antonyms: Verb (1)

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Examples of earn in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The senior made his final impression with voters with 184 yards and two touchdowns in the SEC title game against Florida in helping the Crimson Tide finish unbeaten and earn the top seed in the College Football Playoff. Erick Smith, USA TODAY, "Alabama's DeVonta Smith ends wide receiver drought by winning Heisman Trophy," 5 Jan. 2021 Which of them will earn the first (and hopefully, only) FMFL title? Nate Jones, Vulture, "We’ve Come to the End of the Fall Movies Fantasy League Regular Season," 5 Jan. 2021 Sellers earn up to 85 percent commission for the selling price of their items (one of the highest rates in comparison to other sites). Barry Samaha, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Best Online Consignment Sites to Score Vintage Fashion," 5 Jan. 2021 The 32-year-old right-hander could earn up to $24 million over the next three seasons. Los Angeles Times, "Dodgers continue to build bullpen, re-sign Blake Treinen to a two-year contract," 5 Jan. 2021 The amount then declines for people earning above those thresholds, and completely phases out for single people who earn over $87,000 and married couples with earnings over $174,000. Aimee Picchi, CBS News, "Second stimulus check: IRS says the $600 payments are now on their way. But how soon is now?," 3 Jan. 2021 The Seahawks will earn the top seed with a win and losses by Green Bay and New Orleans. Mark Heim | Mheim@al.com, al, "Seahawks vs. 49ers live stream (1/3): How to watch NFL Week 17 online, TV, time," 3 Jan. 2021 Dalton is not the only Cowboys player who can earn bonus money with a strong finish to the season. Dallas News, "Andy Dalton in line for $1 million bonus if Cowboys make the playoffs," 31 Dec. 2020 But the two games will be played simultaneously, giving the Rams motivation to beat the Cardinals (8-7), who can earn their own wild-card spot with a win (or a combination of a tie and a Chicago loss). New York Times, "N.F.L. Week 17 Predictions: Our Picks Against the Spread," 31 Dec. 2020

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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Time Traveler for earn

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for earn

Last Updated

12 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Earn.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/earn. Accessed 17 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for earn


\ ˈərn How to pronounce earn (audio) \
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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