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

Ross Detwiler gave up four runs (two earned) and eight hits in six innings. Andrew Seligman, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Tigers swept away by White Sox after 3-run HR in 12th inning," 4 July 2019 In the final two sets, neither player had a break point, but Nadal prevailed in both tiebreakers to earn a spot in the third round. Christopher Clarey, New York Times, "Rafael Nadal Doesn’t Fall for Nick Kyrgios’s Bag of Tricks," 4 July 2019 Rahman, now an IT engineer at Cigna, first lived in Las Vegas before moving to Albany to earn his master’s degree in software engineering from SUNY. Shannon Larson, courant.com, "'The true pursuit of happiness’: 60 Connecticut residents become US citizens at Yard Goats naturalization ceremony," 4 July 2019 That means more people are forced to take on more debt to earn a degree. Kim Churches, NBC News, "AAUW's Kim Churches: The student debt crisis is a women's issue," 3 July 2019 Previous research has mostly focused on cities and states that have already raised the minimum wage, where workers tend to earn more money. Alexia Fernández Campbell, Vox, "A $15 federal minimum wage won’t cost Americans jobs, new study says," 2 July 2019 Before the Nobel Peace Prize committee decided to bestow its award on American presidents in advance of potential accomplishments, the medallion and krona had to be earned. Justin D. Shapiro, National Review, "In Defense of Diplomacy with Despots, from 1776 to Today," 2 July 2019 To be admitted to state universities, students typically need high school GPAs of 2.5 or higher and their coursework must include, in addition to the classes required to earn standard diplomas, two foreign language credits. Annie Martin, orlandosentinel.com, "Admissions to Florida’s public universities are getting more competitive. But schools still admit students lacking basic qualifications.," 2 July 2019 Families can enjoy two hours of high-tech video games and carnival-type games (where players earn tickets toward prizes) at a bargain price. Laura Daily And Bryan K. Chavez, The Know, "16 free and cheap things to do around Denver in July," 1 July 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

7 Jul 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

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