Definition of in earnest
1 : in an earnest or serious way The search began in earnest when the police arrived. After light showers during the day, it began to rain in earnest in the evening. It's hard to tell if he's making this proposal in earnest.
2 : not fooling : serious and sincere We thought he was joking at first, but then we realized that he was in earnest.
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Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up in earnest? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).