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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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]

earner (ˈɜːnə)
1.  a person who earns money
2.  informal (Brit), (Austral) an activity or thing that produces income, esp illicitly: a nice little earner

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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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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