Earnestness is a quality of sincere interest, belief, or opinion. The earnestness with which you recite your favorite poem might make your English class stop whispering and really listen.

Your favorite history teacher's earnestness can be seen in the serious, intense way he talks about the Civil War or Prohibition. Little kids often approach the world with an earnestness that's reflected in their amazement and wonder at seemingly ordinary things, like fireflies or simple magic tricks. Earnestness comes from the adjective earnest, "showing sincere conviction," which has an Old English root, eornoste, "zealous."

Definitions of earnestness

n the trait of being serious

serious-mindedness, seriousness, sincerity
frivolity, frivolousness
the trait of being frivolous; not serious or sensible
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commitment, committedness
the trait of sincere and steadfast fixity of purpose
graveness, gravity, soberness, sobriety, somberness, sombreness
a manner that is serious and solemn
sedateness, solemness, solemnity, staidness
a trait of dignified seriousness
the commitment of something other than money (time, energy, or effort) to a project with the expectation of some worthwhile result
stodginess, stuffiness
dull and pompous gravity
Type of:
a distinguishing feature of your personal nature

n an earnest and sincere feeling

seriousness, sincerity
Type of:
gravity, solemnity
a solemn and dignified feeling

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