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

Williams, who will earn her degree in Health & Human Physiology & Biology, was sporting a 3.95 GPA. Randy Mcroberts, baltimoresun.com, "Bel Air's Shannon Williams leaving Oregon with honors, awards, records," 6 June 2019 Quantrill, who earned his first victory May 25 in Toronto, made his first start since and allowed two runs on five hits while striking out seven. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Padres bullpen lets another one get away in loss to Phillies," 5 June 2019 And some working people who earn too much to qualify for AHCCCS must prioritize sometimes cannot afford to pay dental insurance or what can be expensive costs of dental care. Stephanie Innes, azcentral, "Inaugural event will offer free dental care in Flagstaff this week, lineups expected," 5 June 2019 Of course, Ronaldo—who earns tens of millions a dollar a year in endorsements and has a $1 billion lifetime endorsement deal with Nike—would probably prefer to not testify on television, so federal court might be advantageous to him too. Michael Mccann, SI.com, "Cristiano Ronaldo Rape Case Still Very Much Open Despite Dropped Lawsuit," 5 June 2019 And any employee who had not previously earned college credits could win a $1,500 scholar award after graduating. Charisse Jones, USA TODAY, "Walmart's expanding the chance to go to college for a dollar a day to more of its workers," 4 June 2019 Kurgat and McCormick, who both just earned all-district academic awards and are in the running for All-America academic recognition, are among many of Friess’ athletes who also succeeded academically. Beth Bragg, Anchorage Daily News, "After 29 years and 178 All-Americans, UAA running coach Michael Friess calls it a career," 4 June 2019 But for the typical American, who earns about $53,000 per year, not so much. Aimee Picchi, CBS News, "Apple's top Mac Pro computer costs more than the average car," 4 June 2019 Bowman, who earned a $6.75 million base salary in his final season with the 49ers, declined to accept a deal that would include a significant pay cut. Eric Branch, SFChronicle.com, "Time healed NaVorro Bowman’s wounds from 49ers," 4 June 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

9 Jun 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 tendency to relapse

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