plural noun earn·ings \ ˈər-niŋz \
Updated on: 10 Jan 2018

Definition of earnings

1 : something (such as wages) earned
2 : the balance of revenue after deduction of costs and expenses

Recent Examples of earnings from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'earnings.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of earnings


Financial Definition of EARNINGS


What It Is

Earnings are the corporate profits of a company over a specific time period after taxes and other expenses have been paid.

How It Works

The net (after-tax) earnings of a company are calculated by deducting such factors as operating expenses, cost of sales, taxes, and the like. Company earnings figures are usually released on a quarterly basis, but may also refer to annual earnings.

Earnings are, in many cases, the most important factor determining stock prices for a company. For example, company ABC releases information that earnings for the third quarter (Q3) have risen from $10,000,000 to $20,000,000. At the same time, company XYZ releases figures showing a drop in earnings for the same period from $900,000 to $750,000.

Why It Matters

Earnings are probably the single most important indicator of a company's financial strength and growth potential. Earnings figures are used by investment analysts to provide estimates of a company's growth potential and offer target price estimates for investors interested in purchasing shares. Many new companies may report low, or even negative, earnings whilst attempting to find market potential for a particular good or service, and yet receive positive estimates from investment analysts for the simple reason that investors believe the company will grow in the near future.

EARNINGS Defined for English Language Learners



Definition of earnings for English Language Learners

  • : money received as wages or gained as profit

EARNINGS Defined for Kids


noun plural earn·ings \ ˈər-niŋz \

Definition of earnings for Students

: money received as wages or gained as profit

Law Dictionary


noun plural earn·ings

legal Definition of earnings

1 : something (as wages or dividends) earned as compensation for labor or the use of capital
2 : the balance of revenue for a specified period that remains after deducting related costs and expenses incurred — compare profit

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having a quality expressive of sadness

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