1 [urn]
verb (used with object)
to gain or get in return for one's labor or service: to earn one's living.
to merit as compensation, as for service; deserve: to receive more than one has earned.
to acquire through merit: to earn a reputation for honesty.
to gain as due return or profit: Savings accounts earn interest.
to bring about or cause deservedly: His fair dealing earned our confidence.
verb (used without object)
to gain income: securities that earn on a quarterly basis.

before 900; Middle English ern(i)en, Old English earnian; akin to Old High German arnēn to earn, harvest

earner, noun

1. procure, make, receive, obtain. See gain1.
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2 [urn]
verb (used without object) Obsolete.
to grieve.

1570–80; perhaps variant of yearn

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
earn (ɜːn)
1.  to gain or be paid (money or other payment) in return for work or service
2.  (tr) to acquire, merit, or deserve through behaviour or action: he has earned a name for duplicity
3.  (tr) (of securities, investments, etc) to gain (interest, return, profit, etc)
[Old English earnian; related to Old High German arnēn to reap, Old Saxon asna salary, tithe]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

O.E. earnian "get a reward for labor," from W.Gmc. *aznojanan, from *aznu "work, labor" (cf. O.H.G. aran, Ger. Ernte "harvest," Goth. asans "harvest, summer," O.N. önn "work in the field"). Related to O.E. esne "serf." Related: Earned; earning.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences for earned
These performances in tight situations earned him the nickname of iceman.
The two movies earned the acclaim of critics, but not the public.
With this boost of confidence, perez easily earned the starting position on jv.
He earned six shillings a week pasting labels on jars of thick shoe polish.
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