Definition of earnest adjective from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



BrE BrE//ˈɜːnɪst//
; NAmE NAmE//ˈɜːrnɪst//
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  • very serious and sincere an earnest young man Despite her earnest efforts, she could not find a job. When I looked over, he was in earnest conversation with his father.
  • Word OriginOld English eornoste (adjective), eornost (noun), of Germanic origin; related to German Ernst (noun).Extra examples You may laugh but I assure you I’m in deadly earnest. a very earnest young man Despite the earnest efforts of all concerned, the project failed to find a backer. I could tell that she spoke in earnest. She was nice enough, but perhaps a little too earnest. The earnest young doctor answered all our questions. When I looked over, he was in earnest conversation with an elderly gentleman. You may laugh but I’m in deadly earnest.Idioms
    1. 1more seriously and with more force or effort than before The work on the house will begin in earnest on Monday. That was when our troubles started in earnest.
    2. 2very serious and sincere about what you are saying and about your intentions; in a way that shows that you are serious You may laugh but I'm in deadly earnest. I could tell she spoke in earnest.
    See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: earnest

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