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)

Other Words from earn

Verb (1)

earner noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for earn

Synonyms: Verb (1)

Antonyms: Verb (1)

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of earn in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb There’s a chance Harbaugh could earn a lot more money in the coming weeks. Michael Cohen, Detroit Free Press, 30 Nov. 2021 Those performances may cut into Toppin’s available minutes when everyone is healthy, but his defensive versatility should still earn him a role in the primary rotation. Jon Hale, The Courier-Journal, 29 Nov. 2021 Participants must commit seven to 12 hours and earn a $25 gift card for participating. Kate Mcgee, San Antonio Express-News, 28 Nov. 2021 The Packers would like to emulate the 2010 Packers team that overcame rare injury attrition to earn a playoff spot and win the Super Bowl. Tom Krasovic, San Diego Union-Tribune, 28 Nov. 2021 Toronto has an emerging young core and can add major contracts before younger players such as Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. earn a lot more. Rob Gillies, baltimoresun.com, 28 Nov. 2021 Martin's second quarter surge helped Indiana take control and earn a 114-97 victory over Toronto, its first of the season in three tries. James Boyd, The Indianapolis Star, 27 Nov. 2021 Why watch: The Demon Deacons came up short last week at Clemson but have one more chance to clinch the ACC Atlantic and earn a date with Coastal champion Pittsburgh. Eddie Timanus, USA TODAY, 27 Nov. 2021 The goal for every season is to qualify and earn a Superior rating at the OMEA State Marching Band Finals in Columbus. Shirley Macfarland, cleveland, 26 Nov. 2021

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.

See More

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

Learn More About earn

Time Traveler for earn

Time Traveler

The first known use of earn was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near earn



earn a living

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for earn

Last Updated

2 Dec 2021

Cite this Entry

“Earn.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/earn. Accessed 8 Dec. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

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.

More from Merriam-Webster on earn

Nglish: Translation of earn for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of earn for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about earn


Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Flower Edition

Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!