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

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 Häagen-Dazs is starting a new reward program that allows customers to earn points for every dollar spent at the ice cream shop. Sophia Caraballo, Woman's Day, "Häagen-Dazs Is Giving Away Free Ice Cream on May 14," 1 May 2019 John Cleese As a lad, the future Monty Python member and Fawlty Towers star read law at Downing College, Cambridge, earning his degree in 1963. Vogue, "Kim Kardashian West, Esq.? 7 Celebrities With Law Degrees," 10 Apr. 2019 Her success earned her the prestigious NCAA Elite 89 award in 2012, and twice, Sellers (then Sarah Callister) was named Weber State’s Female Athlete of the Year. Jenny Mccoy, SELF, "How Sarah Sellers Went From Surprise Podium Finisher at the Boston Marathon to Pro Athlete," 8 Apr. 2019 In 2008–09, over 94,000 students earned bachelor’s degrees in psychology, yet there were only 174,000 practicing psychologists in the entire country. Chuck Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "The State of American Trade Schools," 13 Mar. 2019 In addition to Gaga's Best Actress in a Drama nod, the film also earned nominations for Best Actor in a Drama (Bradley Cooper), Best Director (Bradley Cooper), and Drama Motion Picture. Lauren Alexis Fisher, Harper's BAZAAR, "Lady Gaga Stuns in Valentino Couture at 2019 Golden Globes," 7 Jan. 2019 Before that, Williams was believed to earn $150,000 per episode, but that estimate came from the website Celebrity Net Worth. Alexis Jones, Harper's BAZAAR, "Game of Thrones Stars Could Be Making Millions Per Episode in the Final Season," 2 Apr. 2019 Companies work painstakingly to earn consumer trust. Peter Navarro, WSJ, "Trump Has a Plan to Stop Fake Goods," 2 Apr. 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

12 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

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using a distributed computer network

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