Earnest vs Ernest

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Earnest and Ernest are pronounced in the same way and are spelled similarly, but signify two different things. We will look at the meaning of earnest and Ernest, the origin of these two words and examine some examples of their use in sentences.

Earnest means serious-minded, sincere, or something that needs urgent attention. Earnest also means a token given as a guarantee of something more to come. For examples, earnest money is given as a guarantee that one will honor a contract. The word earnest is derived from the Old English word eornost which means serious intent. Earnest may be used as an adjective or noun, related words are earnestness and earnestly.

Ernest is a masculine name. The name Ernest is derived from the German names Ernst and Ernust. The name Ernest is considered old-fashioned. While Ernest was the twentieth most popular name in England in the last five hundred years, this past year the name Ernest was one of the least popular names in England. Note that Ernest is capitalized, as it is a proper noun.


During the encore of Morrissey’s Brooklyn concert Saturday night, the former Smiths singer paid tribute to the Ramones, one of neighboring borough Queens’ greatest musical exports, with an earnest cover of the punk legends’ “Judy Is a Punk.” (The Rolling Stone Magazine)

NHAI got a bizarre bid of just Rs 1,500 from a construction company for a project worth Rs 1,858 crore, while a Tata firm withdrew bids for two other projects — prompting earnest money forfeiture in all three cases. (The Financial Express)

Not long before that, I had read the logbook of Ernest Shackleton and a few other books about his extraordinary odyssey. (The Hollywood Reporter)