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Definition of "earnest" []

  • Marked by or showing deep sincerity or seriousness: an earnest gesture of goodwill. (adjective)
  • Of an important or weighty nature; grave. See Synonyms at serious. (adjective)
  • In earnest With a purposeful or sincere intent: settled down to study in earnest for the examination. (idiom)
  • In earnest Serious; determined: "Both sides are deeply in earnest, with passions that approximate those of civil war” ( Conor Cruise O'Brien). (idiom)
  • Money paid in advance as part payment to bind a contract or bargain. (noun)

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 "earnest" in a sentence
  • "Stands to reason, if any man's going to preach earnest, _earnest_, mind you, he'll require some notes or heads jotted down, clear and easy to be got at, before him. ""
  • "She leaned across the table, her expression earnest and so beautiful he could only stare, marveling at what changes time had wrought in her."
  • ""What they should be doing in earnest is forming opinions, not about me but about GM and what this company is doing that is ... hugely beneficial to the causes they so enthusiastically claim to support," he said in a posting titled, "Talk About a Crock.""