There are 2 main definitions of earnest in English:

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earnest 1

Line breaks: earn|est
Pronunciation: /ˈəːnɪst/

adjective

Resulting from or showing sincere and intense conviction: an earnest student two girls were in earnest conversation
More example sentences
  • The truth was more that the agenda didn't fit with her sincere and earnest style, so why should she change in order to fit it?
  • Instead, earnest students of public policy are expected to read them onscreen as retrieved via the internet.
  • It is only through such earnest conversation that we can hope to approach clarity.
Synonyms
committed, dedicated, assiduous, keen, diligent, zealous, industrious, hard-working;
studious, thoughtful, cerebral, deep, profound, bookish, donnish

Origin

Old English eornoste (adjective), eornost (noun), of Germanic origin; related to German Ernst (noun).

Phrases

in earnest

1
To a greater extent or more intensely than before: work began again in earnest
More example sentences
  • Images of sun-kissed beaches wash over us as the travel agents' television advertising campaigns begin in earnest.
  • This worldwide expansion, which began in earnest in the early 1970s, has not been without difficulties.
  • The inquiry begins in earnest as the first witnesses give evidence.
1.1(Of a person) sincere and serious in intention: Cameron looked at him to make sure he was in earnest
More example sentences
  • We move on to Knightley and at first you think he can't be serious, but Sutherland is always in earnest, even when joking.
Synonyms
serious, not joking, sincere, wholehearted, genuine;
committed, firm, resolute, resolved, determined, insistent
zealously, purposefully, determinedly, resolutely, with enthusiasm, with dedication, with commitment;
ardently, fervently, fervidly, passionately, wholeheartedly

Words that rhyme with earnest

Ernest

Definition of earnest in:

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There are 2 main definitions of earnest in English:

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earnest 2 Line breaks: earn|est
Pronunciation: /ˈəːnɪst/

noun

[in singular]
A thing intended or regarded as a sign or promise of what is to come: the very deliberateness of their disguise is an earnest of their real aloofness
More example sentences
  • It is but a trifle that Sauron fancies, and an earnest of your good will.
  • It was a touching tribute never since accorded to any other author, and an earnest of the esteem in which he was held.

Origin

Middle English ernes, literally 'instalment paid to confirm a contract', based on Old French erres, from Latin arra, shortened form of arrabo 'a pledge'. The spelling was influenced by words ending in -ness; the final -t is probably by association with earnest1.

Definition of earnest in:

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