see also: Earnest
  • (America) IPA: /ˈɝnɪst/
  • (RP) IPA: /ˈɜːnɪst/

earnest (uncountable)

  1. Gravity; serious purpose; earnestness.
    • 1914, February 13, The Times, Obituary: Canon Augustus Jessopp
      He wrote well in a forcible, colloquial style, with the air of being tremendously in earnest, and full of knowledge which overflowed his pages, tricked out with somewhat boisterous illustrations.
    • c. 1575-a 1586, Sir Philip Sidney, The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia
      Take heed that this jest do not one day turn to earnest.
    • c. 1592, William Shakespeare, Richard III: Act 5, Scene 1
      That high All-Seer which I dallied with
      Hath turn'd my feigned prayer on my head
      And given in earnest what I begg'd in jest.
  2. Seriousness; reality; actuality (as opposed to joking or pretence)
Translations Translations Verb

earnest (earnests, present participle earnesting; 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.

earnest (comparative earnester, superlative earnestest)

  1. (said of an action or an utterance) Serious or honest
  2. (with a positive sense) Focused in the pursuit of an objective; eager to obtain or do.
    earnest prayers
  3. Intent; focused; showing a lot of concentration.
    earnest attention.
  4. (said of a person or a person's character) Possessing or characterised by seriousness.
    an earnest disposition
  5. Strenuous; diligent.
    earnest efforts
  6. Serious; weighty; of a serious, weighty, or important nature; important.
Translations Translations Translations Noun

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.
    • King James Version, 2 Corinthians 5:5
      Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.
    • 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 Verb
  1. (archaic) second-person singular simple present form of earn

Proper noun
  1. A male given name.

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