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Definition of "earmark" []

  • An identifying feature or characteristic: a novel with all the earmarks of success. (noun)
  • An identifying mark on the ear of a domestic animal. (noun)
  • To reserve or set aside for a particular purpose. See Synonyms at allocate. (verb-transitive)
  • To mark in an identifying or distinctive way. (verb-transitive)
  • To mark the ear of (a domestic animal) for identification. (verb-transitive)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "earmark" in a sentence
  • ""There's been a lot of negative press around the term earmark," he explained, before pointing out some valuable projects that were funded by earmarks, such as the Iraq Study Group."
  • "The term earmark originated in ancient England when farmers tagged -- or marked the ears -- of their livestock mixed among the village herd."
  • ""If they don't like the term earmark, they can call it a member initiative."