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earnest1

[ur-nist] /ˈɜr nɪst/
adjective
1.
serious in intention, purpose, or effort; sincerely zealous:
an earnest worker.
2.
showing depth and sincerity of feeling:
earnest words; an earnest entreaty.
3.
seriously important; demanding or receiving serious attention.
noun
4.
full seriousness, as of intention or purpose:
to speak in earnest.
Origin of earnest1
1000
before 1000; Middle English erneste, Old English eornoste (adj.); Middle English ernest, Old English eornost (noun); cognate with Dutch, German ernest
Related forms
earnestly, adverb
earnestness, noun
Synonyms
1. fervent, intent, purposeful, determined, industrious, ambitious. Earnest, resolute, serious, sincere imply having qualities of depth and firmness. Earnest implies having a purpose and being steadily and soberly eager in pursuing it: an earnest student. Resolute adds a quality of determination: resolute in defending the right. Serious implies having depth and a soberness of attitude that contrasts with gaiety and frivolity; it may include the qualities of both earnestness and resolution: serious and thoughtful. Sincere suggests genuineness, trustworthiness, and absence of superficiality: a sincere interest in music.
Antonyms
1. frivolous.

earnest2

[ur-nist] /ˈɜr nɪst/
noun
1.
a portion of something, given or done in advance as a pledge of the remainder.
2.
3.
anything that gives pledge, promise, or indication of what is to follow.
Origin
1175-1225; Middle English ernes(t), alteration of Old French erres, plural of erre earnest money < Latin arr(h)a short for arr(h)abō (perhaps by taking -bō as a future tense ending) < Greek arrhabṓn < Semitic (compare Hebrew ʿērābhōn security, pledge). Cf. arras2
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for earnest
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • She found a scene of industry in the village, for the fishing had started in earnest.

    The Huntress Hulbert Footner
  • She had feared he might rush his proposal through that night; he had been so much in earnest.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • I am quite in earnest, and am besides most anxious that you should get a scholarship this time.

    Julian Home Dean Frederic W. Farrar
  • But I came in time to see that he was not as earnest as I had been.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • Tatò looked at him curiously for a moment, to see whether he were in earnest.

    Corleone F. Marion Crawford
British Dictionary definitions for earnest

earnest1

/ˈɜːnɪst/
adjective
1.
serious in mind or intention: an earnest student
2.
showing or characterized by sincerity of intention: an earnest promise
3.
demanding or receiving serious attention
noun
4.
seriousness
5.
in earnest, with serious or sincere intentions
Derived Forms
earnestly, adverb
earnestness, noun
Word Origin
Old English eornost; related to Old High German ernust seriousness, Old Norse ern energetic, efficient, Gothic arniba secure

earnest2

/ˈɜːnɪst/
noun
1.
a part or portion of something given in advance as a guarantee of the remainder
2.
(contract law) Also called earnest money. something given, usually a nominal sum of money, to confirm a contract
3.
any token of something to follow; pledge; assurance
Word Origin
C13: from Old French erres pledges, plural of erre earnest money, from Latin arrha, shortened from arrabō pledge, from Greek arrabon, from Hebrew `ērābhōn pledge, from `ārabh he pledged
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for earnest
adj.

from Old English eornoste (adj.) "zealous," or from Old English noun eornost "seriousness, serious intent" (surviving only in the phrase in earnest), from Proto-Germanic *ern "vigor, briskness" (cf. Old Saxon ernust, Old High German arnust "seriousness, firmness, struggle," German Ernst "seriousness;" Gothic arniba "safely, securely;" Old Norse ern "able, vigorous," jarna "fight, combat"). The proper name Ernest (literally "resolute") is from the same root. Related: Earnestly; earnestness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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earnest in the Bible

The Spirit is the earnest of the believer's destined inheritance (2 Cor. 1:22; 5:5; Eph. 1:14). The word thus rendered is the same as that rendered "pledge" in Gen. 38:17-20; "indeed, the Hebrew word has simply passed into the Greek and Latin languages, probably through commercial dealings with the Phoenicians, the great trading people of ancient days. Originally it meant no more than a pledge; but in common usage it came to denote that particular kind of pledge which is a part of the full price of an article paid in advance; and as it is joined with the figure of a seal when applied to the Spirit, it seems to be used by Paul in this specific sense." The Spirit's gracious presence and working in believers is a foretaste to them of the blessedness of heaven. God is graciously pleased to give not only pledges but foretastes of future blessedness.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Idioms and Phrases with earnest

earnest

see: in earnest
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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