Definition of earn in English:

earn

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1 (of a person) obtain (money) in return for labor or services.

    ‘they earn $35 per hour’
    ‘he now earns his living as a truck driver’
    • ‘At present he earns his living by repairing photocopy and fax machines.’
    • ‘She earns her living solely from painting, and her work hangs in important private and corporate collections in Trinidad and Jamaica.’
    • ‘For that service he earns a match fee of 20 and travelling expenses of 26 pence per mile.’
    • ‘I am a 52-year-old employee earning an annual salary of €60,000.’
    • ‘Like many a teenager, he became closeted in his bedroom, spending hours on his computer as he earned some money designing websites.’
    • ‘The professional dog walker is giving a service and has the right to earn a living.’
    • ‘‘It is the farmer who earns his living from the land and as such it should be recognised as a tradeable asset,’ insisted Mr Alderman.’
    • ‘It is claimed funeral workers are being forced to work long hours of overtime to earn a decent wage.’
    • ‘In an attempt to earn money he set about writing a novel, drawing on the experience of his financial disaster.’
    • ‘Consider a mother and daughter family unit where the poor elderly mother is bedridden and her daughter earns a gross salary of $5,000 a month but must leave home to work every day.’
    • ‘It is not only how he gets his pleasure but also how he earns his living.’
    • ‘In real terms, low-income workers earn on average $120 less than they did in 1984, he claims.’
    • ‘Billy now earns well in excess of £35,000 and it is increasing steadily.’
    • ‘Since then, how the Kents earn their money has been less clear, but it involves extensive world travel.’
    • ‘Fundamentally we have to earn the money to pay for services.’
    • ‘Growing vegetables and raising livestock, the family earns about 8,000 yuan a year.’
    • ‘Anyone who earns money or receives income should pay taxes and the truth is, every one does pay taxes.’
    • ‘As a teenager, Monet's talent had declared itself well enough for him to be earning pocket money through selling caricatures.’
    • ‘This young boy also earns his pocket money having had some training in handling computers, she adds.’
    • ‘He earns his living as a British Telecom engineer.’
    be paid, receive a salary of, take home, take home earnings of, gross
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1[with two objects] (of an activity or action) cause (someone) to obtain (money)
      ‘this latest win earned them $50,000 in prize money’
      • ‘An English tour in 1889 earned him enough money to undertake a period of study in Paris with d' Indy and Dukas.’
      • ‘Most jobs that will earn you a good amount of money involve a fair bit of training.’
      • ‘I could do a whole range of boring commercial things which would earn me a lot of money, but I wouldn't do them.’
      • ‘I would be working full-time soon, and that would earn me enough money to live with a roommate.’
      • ‘Furthermore, it seemed unlikely to earn him any significant money.’
      • ‘If an activity doesn't earn you money, or make you rich, then there is no value attached to it.’
      • ‘Completing missions swiftly earns you money with which to upgrade your squad with more experienced operatives.’
      • ‘It may be cruel, but there will come a time when the youthful athleticism that earns him so much money now will disappear.’
      • ‘Doing so earns you money but also produces unwanted waste.’
      • ‘A lifetime of land preservation earns rancher a $10,000 bonus and a much deserved thank you’
      • ‘He eked out a precarious living chiefly by writing short stories, some of which won praise but none of which earned him significant money.’
    2. 1.2 (of capital invested) gain (money) as interest or profit.
      • ‘Will their payments into the scheme be treated as nothing more than an ordinary deposit account earning minimal interest?’
      • ‘This account did not attract interest, so the client monies did not earn interest while they remained in it.’
      • ‘The deposit earns interest and is generally refundable once you establish a satisfactory credit history.’
      • ‘Instead of having a current account that earns no interest, and a mortgage account on which you pay interest, the First Active Current Account Mortgage combines the two.’
      • ‘This example does not take account of the interest earned by the deposit itself, which will also be liable to tax.’
      • ‘The money market earns higher interest rates than their savings bank and credit union accounts.’
      • ‘The money in your account earns some interest each year.’
      • ‘It is a performance bond deposit that earns interest because it is usually held in the form of short-term Treasury bills.’
      • ‘The fund earns capital gains and losses from shares and not fixed interest.’
      • ‘The accounts would be managed by non-government fund managers and deposits would earn interest.’
      • ‘We aim to raise £20,000 this year and start giving grants from the interest the money earns next year.’
      • ‘If customers pay their credit card accounts by the due date, they are probably using funds already on deposit earning no interest.’
      • ‘In the worst case scenario, tax is owed on the funds going into the account and also on the interest earned by the account.’
      • ‘An advantage to choosing this account would be that he would know his money would not earn any interest in any month he were to make a withdrawal.’
      • ‘However, is all of the money being squirreled away earning as much interest as it could be?’
      • ‘Anytime you can take resources that are earning less money and apply them to higher return projects, that's a good thing.’
      • ‘After that, the policy should be earning dividends high enough to cover the annual premium.’
      • ‘The capital you invest that earns $25 psf is more productive, obviously, than that yielding $12 psf.’
      • ‘Any income earned by the fund, in terms of dividends, interest or rental income, is exempt from income tax.’
      • ‘However, it is also true that the cash can be put on deposit to earn interest in the meantime.’
    3. 1.3 Gain or incur deservedly in return for one's behavior or achievements.
      ‘through the years she has earned affection and esteem’
      • ‘The relatively small contingent deservedly earned a reputation for " punching well above their weight".’
      • ‘Let's just say they all earned some recognition for a job they struggled to achieve, but finished in some style.’
      • ‘By the 1880s Irish workers had earned their reputation as a volatile and militant element within the labor force.’
      • ‘We feel we will stutter and stumble and earn the deserved scorn of our listeners.’
      • ‘She also earned a bachelor's degree in English and a master's degree in industrial relations.’
      • ‘He earned another merit badge and turned it in to the chairman through his father.’
      • ‘Well done John and congratulations and best wishes to all who so deservedly earned their award.’
      • ‘He deservedly earned the tremendous esteem and the great regard of all with whom he came in contact with.’
      • ‘The number of women earning doctorates in engineering and science has risen significantly since 1966.’
      • ‘Thus people in positions of privilege or power must earn our trust, show they deserve it.’
      • ‘A prince earns esteem by undertaking great enterprises.’
      • ‘This is the biggest break to come along for The Hooks so far in their career, but they fully deserved and earned it.’
      • ‘From the ditch this running back/special teams kick return man earned his nickname.’
      • ‘Not until years later would he earn the respect his achievements merited.’
      • ‘He earned his doctorate magna cum laude with a dissertation on the politics of Hindu Revivalism.’
      • ‘Younger generations of Royals will need to earn our continuing respect and affection.’
      • ‘I think she should stop counting her chickens before they hatch and stop using a name she by no means has earned.’
      • ‘The charity gains financially, the company earns kudos, and the benevolent consumer gets to feel good about his or her contribution.’
      • ‘Employees have justifiably earned a reputation for the contribution they make to the companies which employ them.’
      • ‘Has he really earned the right to lecture any country on responsible behaviour?’
      deserve, merit, warrant, justify, be entitled to, be worthy of, be deserving of, have a right to
      View synonyms

Phrases

  • earn one's keep

    • 1Work in return for food and accommodations.

      • ‘It used to be that young people were expected to start earning their keep very early, we had to make laws to prohibit child labour.’
      • ‘In other parts of Sweden, like Norrbotten, there were workhouses which poor children attended, earning their keep by doing most of the daily domestic work.’
      • ‘‘My father is a big proponent of tradition and earning your keep,’ Wright says.’
      • ‘‘You will start earning your keep tomorrow, Peter,’ said Orikichal smoothly, dismissing the faery servant with a wave of his hand.’
      • ‘But to our ancestors, kids were an addition to the family workforce and had to earn their keep.’
      • ‘It's time for you to start earning your keep around here.’
      • ‘If they were, then they would have been earning their keep and fending for themselves, like everyone else is supposed to do.’
      • ‘Mother has been complaining that since I don't contribute any money to the household I should be earning my keep through domestic work.’
      • ‘He has very little business this time of year, so it makes sure the stableboys are earning their keep.’
      • ‘The plantation owner and his family allowed him to live by himself on their property and earn his keep by performing house chores and milking cows.’
      1. 1.1Be worth the time, money, or effort spent on one.
        • ‘Sounds like the drug lobbyists are earning their keep.’
        • ‘That is how literary agents earn their keep and justify their existence.’
        • ‘There are graceful conifers such as the Kashmir cypress and great pines earning their keep as windbreaks.’
        • ‘If we're going to welcome in all this new talent, it's time to sweep out some of the wrestlers who haven't been earning their keep.’
        • ‘Franklin has surveyed ranchers using llamas to protect sheep, and found that llamas seem to be earning their keep.’
        • ‘She earns her keep though by competently catching all the bugs and critters that come into our Texas home.’
        • ‘After a few years of hand waving, PowerPoint presentations and whiteboard discussions, investors began demanding that we start earning our keep by making a profit.’
        • ‘His production hasn't matched his paycheck, but this might be the year he earns his keep.’
        • ‘He earns his keep with a subtle musical touch that gradually becomes the overwhelming reason why you'll love this record.’
        • ‘I have long been of the opinion that there is always a group of stars who are paid a whole lot of money, but who earn their keep.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • earn out (or earn something out)

    • (of an author, book, recording artist, etc.) generate sufficient income through sales to equal the amount paid in an advance or royalty.

      ‘my experience is that most authors don't earn out’
      ‘don't confuse earning out the advance with being profitable’
      • ‘The distinguished lady novelist who boasted proudly that her books always earned out their advances.’
      • ‘So it may be the case that a writer gets one big advance, which is not earned out, and then - turn out the light.’
      • ‘It was one of these cult success books, but it never earned out its advance - everybody loved it but no one wanted to buy it.’
      • ‘For your first novel the sales figures they want are the ones that earn out your advance.’
      • ‘I can also assure you that most books never earn out their advance.’
      • ‘Miss Smith, we gather, is a little worried that she has not earned out her advance.’

Origin

Old English earnian, from a base shared by Old English esne laborer.

Pronunciation

earn

/ərn/