verb (1)
\ 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


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

By the 1970s, Cher added a feather to her metaphorical cap and occasionally her actual hair, becoming a household television star with The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour, which would earn her the first of three Golden Globes. Mackenzie Wagoner, Vogue, "Happy Birthday, Cher! Celebrating the Icon's 16 Best Hair Moments," 20 May 2019 Her impeccable fashion sense has even earned her a coveted ambassadorship Louis Vuitton. Nicole Saunders, Harper's BAZAAR, "Sophie Turner Wears a Teeny-Tiny Mugler Dress While Promoting X-Men: Dark Phoenix," 26 Apr. 2019 However, our early review of the tent earned it a spot on our 2018 Gear of the Year list. James Lynch, Popular Mechanics, "The 7 Best Rooftop Tents for Far-Out (and Closer-to-Home) Adventures," 26 Apr. 2019 So, her endorsement deals with brands like Reebok, Guess and MAC Viva Glam have also earned her a pretty penny. Jasmine Gomez, Seventeen, "Ariana Grande's Net Worth Will Literally Blow Your Mind," 16 Apr. 2019 Barton's 30-year journalism career earned her some serious investigative chops and even helped inspire The Suspect's main character, Kate Waters, a reporter writing a story about two 18-year-old girls who go missing while traveling in Thailand. Rachel Epstein, Marie Claire, "#ReadWithMC Reviews Fiona Barton's 'The Suspect'," 4 Mar. 2019 Our award skips the E300 (its four-cylinder is too overburdened to earn our nod) and the war-hammer AMG E63 S (too expensive for our price cap) and goes to the six-cylinder heart of the lineup. Car and Driver, "2019 10Best Cars," 28 Nov. 2018 That’s earned her some criticism from at least one Republican: President Donald Trump. Theodore Schleifer, Recode, "Will the Democrats’ victory lead to tougher regulation of Silicon Valley? Even Europe’s tech czar isn’t sure.," 7 Nov. 2018 The Top 24 contestants performed individually over the course of the two-hour episode, each competing to earn the votes of America and secure their spot in the Top 13. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "Why Did the Top 24 Eliminations on 'The Voice' Cause So Much Controversy?," 1 May 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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Statistics for earn

Last Updated

26 May 2019

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Time Traveler for earn

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

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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

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

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


a strong desire or propensity

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