\ 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

Examples of earn in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Ally Brooke and Sasha Farber, who earned a perfect score on their paso doble, landed in the bottom two alongside Kate Flannery and Pasha Pashkov (the pair got a 26 out of 30). Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "'Dancing With the Stars' Fans Claim the Show Has Lost “Credibility” After Latest Voting Results," 9 Nov. 2019 Muhl, a three-star guard from Croatia who earned a No. Alexa Philippou, courant.com, "Here’s what Geno Auriemma had to say about UConn’s No. 2 ranked 2020 recruiting class as all five members officially sign letters of intent," 20 Nov. 2019 Top score: Congratulations to Holy Name High School senior Matthew Stracensky, who earned a 36 composite score on the ACT, the highest score possible on the exam, which was administered in September. Carol Kovach, cleveland, "St. Columbkille students pitch in to help the needy at Thanksgiving: Sun Postings," 19 Nov. 2019 The awards program listed 10 members who had earned 25-year service awards. Karen Zurawski, Houston Chronicle, "Katy Masonic Lodge honors mayor for service," 19 Nov. 2019 On average, an hour spent auditing someone who earns $5 million or more wins the government about $5,000 in unpaid taxes, while the IRS pays its employees $55 an hour. Robert Verbruggen, National Review, "Enforce the Tax Laws We Already Have," 19 Nov. 2019 In the fall of 2004, Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, a political group that was by law allowed to raise unlimited sums from undisclosed donors, challenged Kerry’s version of events from 1969 that had earned the Navy veteran a Silver Star. Thomas Beaumont, chicagotribune.com, "Pete Buttigieg touts his military service on campaign trail, but is careful not to overstate his role," 17 Nov. 2019 The biggest beneficiaries of migration are the migrants themselves, who earn far more and in many cases escape from oppression or sexism. The Economist, "Voters could make the world twice as rich. Why don’t they?," 16 Nov. 2019 In a year of people not recognizing men, Keanu Reeves is one who earned a great deal of positive love. Time, "The Internet Has Ascended to a Higher Level of Existence on the Wings of the Memes of Keanu Reeves the Tumbleweed Spirit Guide," 15 Nov. 2019

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

24 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Earn.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/earned. Accessed 5 December 2019.

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on earn

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for earn

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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

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