earnest

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See also: Earnest

English[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English ernest, eornest, from Old English eornest, eornost, eornust (earnestness, zeal, seriousness, battle), from Proto-Germanic *ernustuz (earnest, strength, solidity, struggle, fight), a derivative of Proto-Germanic *arniz (efficient, capable, diligent, sure), from Proto-Indo-European *er- (to cause to move, arouse, increase). Cognate with West Frisian earnst (earnest, seriousness), Dutch ernst (seriousness, gravity, earnest), German Ernst (seriousness, earnestness, zeal, vigour), Icelandic ern (brisk, vigorous), Gothic [script needed] (arniba, secure, certain, sure).

Noun[edit]

earnest (uncountable)

  1. Gravity; serious purpose; earnestness.
    • Sir Philip Sidney
      Take heed that this jest do not one day turn to earnest.
    • Shakespeare
      given in earnest what I begged in jest
  2. Seriousness; reality; actuality (as opposed to jesting or feigned appearance); fixed determination; eagerness; intentness.
Derived terms[edit]

Verb[edit]

earnest (third-person singular simple present earnests, present participle earnesting, simple past and past participle earnested)

  1. (transitive) To be serious with; use in earnest.
    • 1602, Pastor Fido:
      Let's prove among ourselves our armes in jest, That when we come to earnest them with men, We may them better use.

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English eornest, from Old English eornoste (earnest, zealous, serious), from eornost ("earnest", the noun; see above). Cognate with North Frisian ernste (earnest), Middle Low German ernest, ernst (serious, earnest), German ernst (serious, earnest).

Adjective[edit]

earnest (comparative earnester or more earnest, superlative earnestest or most earnest)

  1. Serious in speech or action; eager; urgent; importunate; pressing; instant.
  2. Ardent in the pursuit of an object; eager to obtain or do; zealous with sincerity; with hearty endeavour; heartfelt; fervent; hearty; — used in a good sense; as, earnest prayers.
  3. Intent; fixed closely; as, earnest attention.
  4. Possessing or characterised by seriousness; strongly bent; intent.
    an earnest disposition
  5. Strenuous; diligent.
    earnest efforts
  6. Serious; weighty; of a serious, weighty, or important nature; not trifling or feigned; important.
Derived terms[edit]
Translations[edit]

Etymology 3[edit]

Of uncertain origin; apparently related to erres. Compare also arles.

Noun[edit]

earnest (plural earnests)

  1. A sum of money paid in advance as a deposit; hence, a pledge, a guarantee, an indication of something to come.
    • 1990, Peter Hopkirk, The Great Game, Folio Society 2010, p. 365:
      But if all this was viewed by Gladstone and the Cabinet as an earnest of St Petersburg's future good intentions in Central Asia, then disillusionment was soon to follow.
Translations[edit]

See also[edit]

Anagrams[edit]