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ear·nest 1

Showing or expressing sincerity or seriousness: an earnest gesture of goodwill. See Synonyms at serious.
in earnest
1. With a purposeful or sincere intent: settled down to study in earnest for the examination.
2. Serious; determined: "Both sides are deeply in earnest, with passions that approximate those of civil war" (Conor Cruise O'Brien).

[Middle English ernest, from Old English eornoste; see er- in Indo-European roots.]

ear′nest·ly adv.
ear′nest·ness n.

ear·nest 2

1. Earnest money.
2. A token of something to come; a promise or assurance.

[Middle English ernest, variant of ernes, alteration of Old French erres, pl. of erre, pledge, from Latin arra, alteration of arrabō, from Greek arrabōn, earnest-money, of Canaanite origin; see ʕrb in Semitic roots.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Adv.1.earnestly - in a serious manner; "talking earnestly with his son"; "she started studying snakes in earnest"; "a play dealing seriously with the question of divorce"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


1. seriously, truly, sincerely, in earnest, in all sincerity `Do you really mean it?' she asked earnestly.
2. genuinely, keenly, eagerly, passionately, enthusiastically, fervently, ardently, fanatically, devotedly I earnestly hope what I learned will serve me well in my new job.
3. sincerely, really, truly, honestly, wholeheartedly, in all sincerity, from the bottom of your heart He is earnestly pursuing these objectives.
Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002
af einlægni; alvarlega


[ˈɜːnɪstlɪ] ADV [speak] → en serio; [work] → afanosamente, con empeño; [pray] → fervorosamente, fervientemente
I earnestly entreat you (frm or liter) → se lo suplico de todo corazón
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


[ˈɜːrnɪstli] adv
(= seriously) [say] → avec le plus grand sérieux; [listen] → avec sérieux
(= sincerely) [hope, wish] → sincèrement
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


adv say, askernst, ernsthaft; talk, discuss, work, tryernsthaft; explainim Ernst, ernsthaft; hopeaufrichtig, innig; lookernst
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007


[ˈɜːnɪstlɪ] adv (speak) → con serietà; (work) → con coscienza; (pray) → con fervore
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995


(ˈəːnist) adjective
1. serious or over-serious. an earnest student; She wore an earnest expression.
2. showing determination, sincerity or strong feeling. He made an earnest attempt to improve his work.
ˈearnestness noun
earnestly adverb
in earnest
1. serious; not joking. I am in earnest when I say this.
2. seriously; with energy and determination. He set to work in earnest.
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2013 K Dictionaries Ltd.
References in classic literature ?
Let me earnestly recommend you not to follow me to Baliol Cottage, until I have had time to write to you first, and to give you such advice as I cannot, through ignorance of all the circumstances, pretend to offer now.
"Good gracious, no!" cried the Woman, earnestly. "Why, sir, I am an officer of the Women's Press Association!"
I was too much hurt to express any further dissatisfaction with his plans, or at all to refer to the subject again, except for the necessary arrangements concerning his departure and the conduct of affairs during his absence, till the day before he went, when I earnestly exhorted him to take care of himself and keep out of the way of temptation.
The bird entreated earnestly for his life: "What would you do without me when next you spread your nets?
So that those who permit boys to engage too earnestly in these exercises, while they do not take care to instruct them in what is necessary to do, to speak the real truth, render them mean and vile, accomplished only in one duty of a citizen, and in every other respect, as reason evinces, good for nothing.
Miss Bridget did not, however, suffer her to continue long in this doubtful situation; for having looked some time earnestly at the child, as it lay asleep in the lap of Mrs Deborah, the good lady could not forbear giving it a hearty kiss, at the same time declaring herself wonderfully pleased with its beauty and innocence.
Meanwhile Captain Bildad sat earnestly and steadfastly eyeing Queequeg, and at last rising solemnly and fumbling in the huge pockets of his broad-skirted drab coat, took out a bundle of tracts, and selecting one entitled The Latter Day Coming; or No Time to Lose, placed it in queequeg's hands, and then grasping them and the book with both his, looked earnestly into his eyes, and said, Son of darkness, I must do my duty by thee; I am part owner of this ship, and feel concerned for the souls of all its crew; if thou still clingest to thy Pagan ways, which I sadly fear, I beseech thee, remain not for aye a Belial bondsman.
What was unwholesome to him he regarded as unfit for any body; and he had, therefore, earnestly tried to dissuade them from having any weddingcake at all, and when that proved vain, as earnestly tried to prevent any body's eating it.
"Oh, no indeed!" exclaimed the King, earnestly. "If you won't say anything to Glinda I'll promise to be merry and gay all the time, and never cry or wail again."
"Forget it, my dear; forget all my foolishness," pleaded the King, earnestly. "Hereafter I'll try to enjoy myself and do my duty by my subjects."
"I 's faith to believe that day will come," said Tom, earnestly, and with tears in his eyes; "the Lord has a work for Mas'r."
Tom, who was listening in the outer verandah, was drawn by the sound to the very door, where he stood earnestly. He did not understand the words, of course; but the music and manner of singing appeared to affect him strongly, especially when St.