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

Joy actually earned her master's degree in English education and was as a high school teacher. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Why 'The View' Star Joy Behar Doesn't Use Her Real Name," 29 Nov. 2018 Opponents of the current system say the rules unfairly disadvantage artists and limit music publishers from striking their own licensing deals, leading to musicians earning... Anne Steele, WSJ, "Washington Considers Overhaul of Music-Licensing Rules," 26 Feb. 2019 In fact, her career as a journalist has spanned more than 20 years, holding roles at Reuters and CNN, and earning Emmy and duPont-Columbia Awards for her work. Rachel Epstein, Marie Claire, "Anissa Gray's 'The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls' Is #ReadWithMC's March Pick," 25 Feb. 2019 Since then, Kelly has sold millions of albums, taken the stage on nine headlining tours, and earned plenty of recognition for her success. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "Here's Why Kelly Clarkson Hides Her Grammy Awards in Her Home," 10 Feb. 2019 The movie starred Natalie Wood and Rosalind Russell, and was both a critical and financial success, earning $11 million at the box office as well as three Oscar nominations. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel's Amy Sherman-Palladino to Direct Gypsy, a Burlesque Musical," 7 Feb. 2019 Each suite is ranked on three criteria: protection, performance, and usability, earning up to 6 points in each category. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Recent antivirus tests are bad news for paid security suites," 30 Jan. 2019 Spike Lee, meanwhile, earned his first-ever BAFTA, for BlackKkKlansman's screenplay. Vogue, "The Full List of 2019 BAFTA Winners," 10 Feb. 2019 According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, America's infrastructure currently earns a school grade of D+, with perhaps the brightest spot being rail. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "New Green Deal, Explaind: What's Actually in the Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Energy Plan?," 8 Feb. 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

17 Mar 2019

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 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 shady place in a garden or forest

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