earnest

If you are earnest, it means you are serious about something. Your parents might not want you to drop out of school to follow some fly-by-night dream, but if you're earnest about wanting a career in show biz, they'll support you.

If you are earnest, you pursue your purpose in a steady, sincere, and eager way. The phrase in earnest uses earnest as a noun, as in, "Once you stop fooling around and start studying in earnest, you'll find you learn the material quickly." Oscar Wilde's classic play, "The Importance of Being Earnest," plays on the fact that Ernest is also a man's name.

Primary Meanings of earnest

1.
adj
characterized by a firm and humorless belief in the validity of your opinions
2.
n
something of value given by one person to another to bind a contract
Full Definitions of earnest
1

adj characterized by a firm and humorless belief in the validity of your opinions

“both sides were deeply in earnest, even passionate”
Synonyms:
sincere, solemn
serious
concerned with work or important matters rather than play or trivialities

adj earnest

Synonyms:
dear, devout, heartfelt
sincere
open and genuine; not deceitful

adj not distracted by anything unrelated to the goal

Synonyms:
businesslike
purposeful
serving as or indicating the existence of a purpose or goal
2

n something of value given by one person to another to bind a contract

Types:
arles, earnest money
money given by a buyer to a seller to bind a contract
Type of:
security, surety
property that your creditor can claim in case you default on your obligation

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a life-long learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.