(third-person singular simple present earnests, present participle earnesting, simple past and past participle earnested)
- To be serious with; use in earnest.
From Middle English ernest, eornest, from Old English eornest, eornost, eornust (“earnestness, zeal, seriousness, battle”), from Proto-Germanic *ernustuz (“earnest, strength, solidity, struggle, fight”), a derivative of Proto-Germanic *arniz (“efficient, capable, diligent, sure”), from Proto-Indo-European *er- (“to cause to move, arouse, increase”). Cognate with West Frisian earnst (“earnest, seriousness”), Dutch ernst (“seriousness, gravity, earnest”), German Ernst (“seriousness, earnestness, zeal, vigour”), Icelandic ern (“brisk, vigorous”), Gothic [script?] (arniba, “secure, certain, sure”).
(comparative earnester or more earnest, superlative earnestest or most earnest)
- Serious in speech or action; eager; urgent; importunate; pressing; instant.
- Ardent in the pursuit of an object; eager to obtain or do; zealous with sincerity; with hearty endeavour; heartfelt; fervent; hearty; — used in a good sense; as, earnest prayers.
- Intent; fixed closely; as, earnest attention.
- Possessing or characterised by seriousness; strongly bent; intent.
- an earnest disposition
- Strenuous; diligent.
- earnest efforts
- Serious; weighty; of a serious, weighty, or important nature; not trifling or feigned; important.
From Middle English eornest, from Old English eornoste (“earnest, zealous, serious”), from eornost ("earnest", the noun; see above). Cognate with North Frisian ernste (“earnest”), Middle Low German ernest, ernst (“serious, earnest”), German ernst (“serious, earnest”).
Of uncertain origin; apparently related to erres. Compare also arles.