Earnest Ear"nest, n. [Prob. corrupted fr. F. arrhes, L. arra, arrha, arrhabo, Gr. 'arrabw`n, of Semitic origin, cf. Heb. [=e]r[=a]v[=o]n; or perh. fr. W. ernes, akin to Gael. earlas, perh. fr. L. arra. Cf. {Arles}, {Earles penny}.] 1. Something given, or a part paid beforehand, as a pledge; pledge; handsel; a token of what is to come. [1913 Webster]

Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts. --2 Cor. i. 22. [1913 Webster]

And from his coffers Received the golden earnest of our death. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

2. (Law) Something of value given by the buyer to the seller, by way of token or pledge, to bind the bargain and prove the sale. --Kent. Ayliffe. Benjamin. [1913 Webster]

{Earnest money} (Law), money paid as earnest, to bind a bargain or to ratify and prove a sale.

Syn: {Earnest}, {Pledge}.

Usage: These words are here compared as used in their figurative sense. Earnest is not so strong as pledge. An earnest, like first fruits, gives assurance, or at least a high probability, that more is coming of the same kind; a pledge, like money deposited, affords security and ground of reliance for the future. Washington gave earnest of his talent as commander by saving his troops after Braddock's defeat; his fortitude and that of his soldiers during the winter at Valley Forge might rightly be considered a pledge of their ultimate triumph. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • Earnest — Ear nest, a. 1. Ardent in the pursuit of an object; eager to obtain or do; zealous with sincerity; with hearty endeavor; heartfelt; fervent; hearty; used in a good sense; as, earnest prayers. [1913 Webster] An earnest advocate to plead for him.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • earnest — ear·nest / ər nəst/ n [Anglo French ernes(t) erles, alteration of Old French erres, plural of erre pledge, earnest, alteration of Latin arra, short for arrabo, from Greek arrhabōn, of Semitic origin]: something of value given by a buyer to a… …   Law dictionary

  • Earnest — Ear nest ([ e]r n[e^]st), n. [AS. eornost, eornest; akin to OHG. ernust, G. ernst; cf. Icel. orrosta battle, perh. akin to Gr. orny nai to excite, L. oriri to rise.] Seriousness; reality; fixed determination; eagerness; intentness. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • earnest — earnest1 [ʉr′nist] adj. [ME ernest < OE eornoste < eornost, earnestness, zeal, akin to Ger ernst, seriousness (OHG ernust) < IE base * er , to set oneself in motion, arouse > RUN] 1. serious and intense; not joking or playful; zealous …   English World dictionary

  • Earnest — Ear nest, v. t. To use in earnest. [R.] [1913 Webster] To earnest them [our arms] with men. Pastor Fido (1602). [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • earnest — ► ADJECTIVE ▪ intensely serious. ● in earnest Cf. ↑in earnest DERIVATIVES earnestly adverb earnestness noun. ORIGIN Old English …   English terms dictionary

  • earnest — from O.E. eornoste (adj.) zealous, or from O.E. noun eornost seriousness, serious intent (surviving only in the phrase in earnest), from P.Gmc. *ern vigor, briskness (Cf. O.S. ernust, O.H.G. arnust seriousness, firmness, struggle, Ger. Ernst… …   Etymology dictionary

  • earnest — adj *serious, solemn, grave, somber, sober, sedate, staid Analogous words: zealous, enthusiastic, passionate (see corresponding nouns at PASSION): diligent, *busy, industrious, assiduous, sedulous: *sincere, wholehearted, whole souled Antonyms:… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • earnest — [adj1] very enthusiastic ardent, busy, devoted, diligent, eager, fervent, fervid, heartfelt, impassioned, industrious, keen, passionate, perseverant, purposeful, sedulous, sincere, urgent, vehement, warm, wholehearted, zealous; concepts… …   New thesaurus

  • earnest — ear|nest1 [ˈə:nıst US ˈə:r ] adj [: Old English; Origin: eornost] very serious and sincere ▪ a rather earnest young man ▪ Matthews was in earnest conversation with a young girl. ▪ an earnest desire to offer something useful to society earnest… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

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