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[urn] /ɜrn/
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
Related forms
earner, noun
1. procure, make, receive, obtain. See gain1 .


[urn] /ɜrn/
verb (used without object), Obsolete
to grieve.
1570-80; perhaps variant of yearn Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for earning
  • For to-morrow's lack of earning and the hunger-wolf anear.
  • Either a poor reference must be given-possibly preventing a servant from earning her living-or one has to write what is not true.
  • She began earning money for her work, which greatly increased the amount she could contribute to the group.
  • Ask the billion starving humans and billion exploited workers earning less than a dollar a day if they are doing well.
  • What ever happened to companies earning the right to do business.
  • earning tenure at a major research university is one of the biggest hurdles of a professor's career.
  • All groups included in the study showed increases in their rates of completing high school and earning a college degree.
  • IF you are unwilling to give up the safety that tenure brings, dont complain about the wages others taking that risk are earning.
  • Get information on education programs that could help you increase your earning power.
  • Members must choose between earning free nights or an alternate promotion earning double points.
British Dictionary definitions for earning


to gain or be paid (money or other payment) in return for work or service
(transitive) to acquire, merit, or deserve through behaviour or action: he has earned a name for duplicity
(transitive) (of securities, investments, etc) to gain (interest, return, profit, etc)
Word Origin
Old English earnian; related to Old High German arnēn to reap, Old Saxon asna salary, tithe
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 earning



Old English earnian "deserve, earn, merit, win, get a reward for labor," from Proto-Germanic *aznojan (cf. Old Frisian esna "reward, pay"), from *azna "labor" especially "field labor" (cf. Old Norse önn "work in the field"), from PIE *aznon "to do harvest work, serve" (cf. Old High German arnon "to reap"), denominative verb from *es-en- "harvest, fall" (cf. Old High German aren "harvest, crop," German Ernte "harvest," Old English ern "harvest," Gothic asans "harvest, summer," Old Church Slavonic jeseni, Russian osen, Old Prussian assanis "autumn").

Also from the same root are Gothic asneis, Old High German esni "hired laborer, day laborer," Old English esne "serf, laborer, man." Related: Earned; earning.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with earning
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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