• WordNet 3.6
    • adj earnest not distracted by anything unrelated to the goal
    • adj earnest characterized by a firm and humorless belief in the validity of your opinions "both sides were deeply in earnest, even passionate","an entirely sincere and cruel tyrant","a film with a solemn social message"
    • adj earnest earnest "one's dearest wish","devout wishes for their success","heartfelt condolences"
    • n earnest something of value given by one person to another to bind a contract
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Earnest 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. "An earnest advocate to plead for him."
    • Earnest Intent; fixed closely; as, earnest attention.
    • Earnest Serious; important. "They whom earnest lets do often hinder."
    • n Earnest ẽr"nĕst Seriousness; reality; fixed determination; eagerness; intentness. "Take heed that this jest do not one day turn to earnest .""And given in earnest what I begged in jest."
    • Earnest Something given, or a part paid beforehand, as a pledge; pledge; handsel; a token of what is to come. "Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.""And from his coffers
      Received the golden earnest of our death."
    • Earnest (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.
    • v. t Earnest To use in earnest. "To earnest them [our arms] with men."
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n earnest Gravity; serious purpose; earnestness.
    • n earnest Seriousness; reality; actuality, as opposed to jesting or feigned appearance.
    • earnest Serious in speech or action; eager; urgent; importunate; pressing; instant: as, earnest in prayer.
    • earnest Possessing or characterized by seriousness in seeking, doing, etc.; strongly bent; intent: as, an earnest disposition.
    • earnest Strenuous; diligent: as, earnest efforts.
    • earnest Serious; weighty; of a serious, important, or weighty nature; not trifling or feigned.
    • earnest To be serious with; use in earnest.
    • n earnest A portion of something given or done in advance as a pledge; security in kind; specifically, in law, a part of the price of goods or service bargained for, which is paid at the time of the bargain to evidence the fact that the negotiation has ended in an actual contract. Hence it is said to bind the bargain. Sometimes the earnest, if trifling in amount, is not taken into account in the reckoning.
    • n earnest Anything that gives pledge, promise, assurance, or indication of what is to follow; first-fruits.
    • n earnest Synonyms Earnest, Pledge. Earnest, like pledge, is security given for the doing of something definite in the future, and generally returned when the conditions of the contract have been fulfilled. In 2 Cor. i. 22 and v. 5 we read that the Spirit is given as the earnest of indefinite future favors from God; in Blackstone we find “a penny, or any portion of the goods delivered as earnest.” Whether literal or figurative, earnest is always a pledge in kind, a part paid or given in warrant that more of the same kiud, is forthcoming; as in “Macbeth,” i. 3, Macbeth is hailed thane of Cawdor “for an earnest of a greater honor.” See also “Cymbeline,” i. 6. Pledge is often used figuratively for that which seems promised or indicated by the actions of the present, earnest being preferred for that which is of the same nature with the thing promised, and pledge for that which is materially different.
    • earnest To serve as an earnest or a pledge of.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • adj Earnest ėr′nest showing strong desire: determined: eager to obtain: intent: sincere: serious
    • n Earnest seriousness: reality
    • n Earnest ėr′nest money given in token of a bargain made—also Ear′nest-mon′ey, Ear′nest-penn′y: a pledge: first-fruits.
    • ***


  • Henry David Thoreau
    “I have lived some thirty-odd years on this planet, and I have yet to hear the first syllable of valuable or even earnest advice from my seniors.”
  • Samuel Johnson
    “At seventy-seven it is time to be in earnest.”
  • Terence
    “You believe easily that which you hope for earnestly.”
  • William Frederick Book
    William Frederick Book
    “A man must earnestly want.”
  • Blaise Pascal
    “Earnestness is enthusiasm tempered by reason.”
  • John Keats
    “Failure is in a sense the highway to success, as each discovery of what is false leads us to seek earnestly after what is true.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
Prob. corrupted fr. F. arrhes, L. arra, arrha, arrhabo, Gr. 'arrabw`n, of Semitic origin, cf. Heb. ērāvōn,; or perh. fr. W. ernes, akin to Gael. earlas, perh. fr. L. arra,. Cf. Arles Earles penny
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Ety. obscure; possibly conn. with arles.


In literature:

And now the battle began in earnest.
"The Bishop of Cottontown" by John Trotwood Moore
And to bring about the good time when men shall live in peace, he began earnestly to govern himself.
"Little Journeys to the Homes of the Great Philosophers, Volume 8" by Elbert Hubbard
She is in earnest but she is in earnest theatrically, and that fool, Dampierre, is as bad as she is.
"A Girl of the Commune" by George Alfred Henty
His interest in the great purpose of our assembling was profound and earnest.
"A Report of the Debates and Proceedings in the Secret Sessions of the Conference Convention" by Lucius Eugene Chittenden
Mr. Grant could not doubt that a great change had come over Fanny; that she earnestly intended to lead a true and good life.
"Hope and Have" by Oliver Optic
The earnest of the 'inheritance' is the pledge until the full redemption of 'God's own possession.
"Expositions of Holy Scripture" by Alexander Maclaren
His horns were set, and his eyes glared with a terrible earnestness.
"Popular Adventure Tales" by Mayne Reid
I shall be heartily pleased to see you again, my dear Fechter, and to share your triumphs with the real earnestness of a real friend.
"The Letters of Charles Dickens" by Charles Dickens
The new Owen Sandbrook, with his innocent earnestness, and the spiritual light in his eyes, should fulfil all her dreams!
"Hopes and Fears scenes from the life of a spinster" by Charlotte M. Yonge
Earnest came into the room.
"The Gentle Art of Cooking Wives" by Elizabeth Strong Worthington

In poetry:

But upon thy youthful forehead
Something like a shadow lies;
And a serious soul is looking
From thy earnest eyes.
"To ------," by John Greenleaf Whittier
To thy page the star of love,
Maiden fair doth bend her;
Mothers' minds thy fancies move—
Earnest, true, and tender.
"A Parody On "The Wayside Well"" by Janet Hamilton
But his earnest spirit needed
More than outward Nature taught;
More than blest the poet's vision
Or the sage's thought.
"To ------," by John Greenleaf Whittier
And laid upon my heaving breast,
With earnest glance and true,
A babe, whose fair and gentle brow
No shade of sorrow knew.
"A Dream That Was Not All A Dream" by Mary Gardiner Horsford
Such was Caleb's earnest answer
To the preacher's solemn call
On the worshipers of Him who
Said, "My gospel preach to all."
"Caleb's Vision" by Alfred Gibbs Campbell
There is the field, the vantage ground
For every earnest heart;
To side with justice, truth and right
And act a noble part.
"The Present Age" by Frances Ellen Watkins

In news:

Is it a stylish cocktail haunt, an earnest gastropub, or a neighborhood bar.
In 2001, four friends from Mesa, Ariz. Made an album called Bleed American — a set of sentimental, earnest, and immensely relatable pop-punk anthems.
Earnest Rhodes, aggravated battery, theft, resisting arrest, other charges, no bond.
Contestants made music videos set to three patriotic British anthems -- with some earnest, and some hilarious results WSJ's Gautam Naik reports.
Kathryn's one of those girls who began her music career in earnest when she was only a teen.
Husbands, Earnest N Smith and Max Caldwell .
Democrats' attempt to sell themselves as the moderate adults in the state continued in earnest today, at a Capitol Hill press conference where they pushed their Tennessee First Act.
UCD defensive backs Jonathan Perkins (11) and Earnest Sayles try to tackle Eastern Washington receiver Brandon Kaufman in the Aggies' 31-28 loss on Saturday.
Venezuela's long-rumored transition to the post–Hugo Chávez era started in earnest last weekend as the cancer-stricken president made his most explicit call yet to his supporters to prepare for his passing.
Dntel, is probably best known for the kaleidoscopic digital tapestries of laptop beats and indie-pop earnestness he pioneered in the early 2000s with the Postal Service.
Now that we are halfway through November, most of us are turning our attention toward Christmas in earnest.
Steamboat Springs — The focus on the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, began in earnest months ago.
Lance Lamb, District 1, Donnie Hamlin, District 3, and Earnest Jones, District 5.
Saxby Chambliss's race for reelection to the US Senate seemed to begin in earnest before Thanksgiving.
Though they've played a handful of shows throughout the summer, Neil Young and Crazy Horse hit the road in earnest on Wednesday (October 3) in Windsor, Ontario.

In science:

We are now ready to begin in earnest the construction of the Troot -valued Markov process, X , having the root growth with re-grafting dynamics.
Rayleigh processes, real trees, and root growth with re-grafting
In 1997 Earnest and Khosravani defined universal Hermitian forms and they sought 13 positive definite binary Hermitian forms over imaginary quadratic fields of class number one .
Simple proofs for universal binary Hermitian lattices
Earnest, Khosravani, Iwabuchi, Kim and the author found all universal binary Hermitian lattices over imaginary quadratic fields.
Simple proofs for universal binary Hermitian lattices
Deceleration due to the combined stellar winds starts in earnest when about half the initial energy has been transferred to the shocked matter, i.e. when it has swept up Γ−1 times its own rest mass.
Short Gamma Ray Bursts and their Afterglow Signatures in Dense Stellar Systems
Cosmic-ray detectors were installed at the Australian base of Mawson in 1955 (Parsons 1957) and at the US base of McMurdo during the International Geophysical Year of 1957 (Pomerantz, Agarwal & Pontis 1958), the year when Antarctic science began in earnest.
Astronomy in Antarctica