earmark

To earmark something is to set it aside for a specific purpose. If you’re saving money to spend it in a particular way — whether it’s for college or a fancy new pair of shoes — you have earmarked that money.

Originally, an earmark was a mark on the ear of an animal — such as a sheep — that indicated ownership. Similarly, when government officials earmark a resource, they're indicating what the resource will be used for. Earmarking is usually about money. $10,000 could be earmarked for cancer research. A grant could be earmarked for a children's hospital. Earmarking is a way of stating how something will be used.

Primary Meanings of earmark

1.
v
give or assign a resource to a particular person or cause
2.
n
identification mark on the ear of a domestic animal
Full Definitions of earmark
1

v give or assign a resource to a particular person or cause

“I will earmark this money for your research”
Synonyms:
allow, appropriate, reserve, set aside
Type of:
allot, assign, portion
give out
2

n identification mark on the ear of a domestic animal

Type of:
mark, marker, marking
a distinguishing symbol

n a distinctive characteristic or attribute

Synonyms:
hallmark, stylemark, trademark
Types:
mold, mould
a distinctive nature, character, or type
Type of:
characteristic
a distinguishing quality

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