Dictionary: EARN – EARTH'ED

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EARN, v.t. [ern; Sax. earnian, ærnian, gearnian, to earn, to merit. It is connected in origin with earnest and yearn, – which see. The primary sense is to strive or urge, implying an effort to advance or stretch forward.]

  1. To merit or deserve by labor, or by any performance; to do that which entitles to a reward, whether the reward is received or not. Men often earn money or honor which they never receive. Earn money before you spend it, and spend less than you earn. It is idle to hope, by our short-sighted contrivances, to insure to a people happiness which their own character has not earned. Channing.
  2. To gain by labor, service or performance; to deserve and receive as compensation; as, to earn a dollar a day; to earn a good living; to earn honors or laurels.

EARN'ED, pp. [ern'ed.]

Merited by labor or performance; gained.

EARN'EST, a. [ern'est; Sax. eornest, or geornest, from georn, desirous, studious, diligent, assiduous, whence geornian, gyrnan, to desire, to yearn; Dan. gierne, willingly, freely, gladly, cheerfully; gierning, a deed, act, exploit; Ger. ernst; D. ernst; W. ern, earnest-money. The radical sense is to strive to advance, to reach forward, to urge, to strain.]

  1. Ardent in the pursuit of an object; eager to obtain; having a longing desire; warmly engaged or incited. They are never more earnest to disturb us, than when they see us most earnest in this duty. Duppa.
  2. Ardent; warm; eager; zealous; animated; importunate; as, earnest in love; earnest prayer.
  3. Intent; fixed. On that prospect strange / Their earnest eyes were fixed. Milton.
  4. Serious; important; that is, really intent or engaged; whence the phrase, in earnest. To be in earnest, is to be really urging or stretching toward an object; intent on a pursuit. Hence, from fixed attention, comes the sense of seriousness in the pursuit, as opposed to trifling or jest. Are you in earnest or in jest?

EARN'EST, n. [ern'est.]

  1. Seriousness; a reality; a real event; as opposed to jesting or feigned appearance. Take heed that this jest do not one day turn to earnest. Sidney. And give in earnest what I begg'd in jest. Shak.
  2. First fruits; that which is in advance, and gives promise of something to come. Early fruit may be an earnest of fruit to follow. The first success in arms may be an earnest of future success. The Christian's peace of mind in this life is an earnest of future peace and happiness. Hence earnest or earnest-money is a first payment or deposit giving promise or assurance of full payment. Hence the practice of giving an earnest to ratify a bargain. This sense of the word is primary, denoting that which goes before, or in advance. Thus the earnest of the spirit is given to saints, as a pledge or assurance of their future enjoyment of God's presence and favor.

EARN'-EST-LY, adv. [ern'estly.]

  1. Warmly; zealously; importunately; eagerly; with real desire. Being in an agony, he prayed more earnestly. Luke xxii. That ye should earnestly contend for the faith once delivered to the saints. Jude 3.
  2. With fixed attention; with eagerness. A certain maid looked earnestly upon him. Luke xxii.

EARN'EST-NESS, n. [ern'estness.]

  1. Ardor or zeal in the pursuit of any thing; eagerness; animated desire; as, to seek or ask with earnestness; to engage in a work with earnestness.
  2. Anxious care; solicitude; intenseness of desire. Dryden.
  3. Fixed desire or attention; seriousness; as, the charge was maintained with a show of gravity and earnestness.

EARN'FUL, a. [ern'ful.]

Full of anxiety. [Not used.] Fletcher.

EARN'ING, n. [ern'ing. plur. Earnings.]

That which is earned; that which is gained or merited by labor, services or performance; wages; reward. The folly of young men is to spend their earnings in dissipation or extravagance. It is wise for the poor to invest their earnings in a productive fund.

EARN'ING, ppr. [ern'ing.]

Meriting by services; gaining by labor or performance.


An instrument for cleansing the ear.


Piercing the ear, as a shrill or sharp sound. Shak.


A pendant; an ornament, sometimes set with diamonds, pearls or other jewels, worn at the ear, by means of a ring passing through the lobe.

EARSH, n. [See Ear, to plow.]

A plowed field. [Not in use.] May.


Reach of the ear; the distance at which words may be heard. Dryden.

EARTH, n. [erth; Sax. eard, eorth, yrth; D. aarde; G. erde; Sw. iord, jord; Dan. iord; Scot. erd, yerd, yerth; Turk. jerda; Tartaric, yirda. It coincides with the Heb. ארץ. The Ar. أَرَضَ aratza, from which the Arabic and Hebrew words corresponding to the Teutonic above, are derived, signifies to eat, gnaw or corrode as a worm, or the teredo. It is obvious then that the primary sense of earth is fine particles, like mold. The verb may be from רצץ, to break or bruise. The Ch. and Syr. ארעא, earth, may be contracted from the same word. See Corrode.]

  1. Earth, in its primary sense, signifies the particles which compose the mass of the globe, but more particularly the particles which form the fine mold on the surface of the globe; or it denotes any indefinite mass or portion of that matter. We throw up earth with a spade or plow; we fill a pit or ditch with earth; we form a rampart with earth. This substance being considered, by ancient philosophers, as simple, was called an element; and in popular language, we still hear of the four elements, fire, air, earth, and water.
  2. In chimistry, the term earth was, till lately, employed to denote a supposed simple elementary body or substance, defined to be tasteless, inodorous, uninflammable and infusible. But it has also been applied to substances which have a very sensible alkaline taste, as lime. The primitive earths were reckoned ten in number, viz. silex, alumin, lime, magnesia, baryte, strontian, zircon, glucin, yttria and thorina. Recent experiments prove that all of them are compounds of oxygen with metallic bases. The earths are now to be considered as metallic oxyds. Davy. Silliman. Phillips.
  3. The terraqueous globe which we inhabit. The earth is nearly spherical, but a little flatted at the poles, and hence its figure is called an oblate spheroid. It is one of the primary planets, revolving round the sun in an orbit which is between those of Venus and Mars. It is nearly eight thousand miles in diameter, and twenty-five thousand miles in circumference. Its distance from the sun is about ninety-five millions of miles, and its annual revolution constitutes the year of 365 days, 5 hours, and nearly 49 minutes.
  4. The world, as opposed to other scenes of existence. Shak.
  5. The inhabitants of the globe. The whole earth was of one language. Gen. xi.
  6. Dry land, opposed to the sea. God called the dry land earth. Gen. i.
  7. Country; region; a distinct part of the globe. Dryden. In this sense, land or soil is more generally used. In Scripture, earth is used for a part of the world. Ezra i, 2.
  8. The ground; the surface of the earth. He fell to the earth. The ark was lifted above the earth. In the second month – was the earth dried. Gen. viii.
  9. In Scripture, things on the earth, are carnal, sensual, temporary things; opposed to heavenly, spiritual or divine things.
  10. Figuratively, a low condition. Rev. xii.
  11. [From ear, Sax. erian, L. aro, to plow.] The act of turning up the ground in tillage. [Not used.] Tusser.

EARTH, v.i.

To retire under ground; to burrow. Here foxes earthed.

EARTH, v.t.

  1. To hide in the earth. The fox is earthed. Dryden.
  2. To cover with earth or mold.


A bag filled with earth, used for defense in war.


A bank or mound of earth.


The board of a plow that turns over the earth; the mold-board.


  1. Born of the earth; terrigenous; springing originally from the earth; as the fabled earthborn giants.
  2. Earthly; terrestrial. All earthborn cares are wrong. Goldsmith.


Fastened by the pressure of the earth. Shak.


Low; abject; groveling.


Formed of earth. Young.


Hid in the earth.