AskDefine | Define earnest

Dictionary Definition

earnest adj
1 characterized by a firm and humorless belief in the validity of your opinions; "both sides were deeply in earnest, even passionate"; "an entirely sincere and cruel tyrant"; "a film with a solemn social message" [syn: in earnest(p), sincere, solemn]
2 earnest; "one's dearest wish"; "devout wishes for their success"; "heartfelt condolences" [syn: dear, devout, heartfelt]
3 not distracted by anything unrelated to the goal [syn: businesslike] n : something of value given by one person to another to bind a contract

User Contributed Dictionary

see Earnest

English

Pronunciation

  • a UK /ˈɜː(ɹ)nɪst/|/ˈɜː(ɹ)nɛst/ /"3:(r)nIst/|/"3:(r)nEst/

Etymology 1

eornost

Adjective

  1. 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.
  2. Intent; fixed closely; as, earnest attention.
  3. Serious; important.

Noun

  1. Seriousness; reality; fixed determination; eagerness; intentness.

Etymology 2

ernes, from

Noun

  1. Something given, or a part paid beforehand, as a pledge; pledge; handsel; a token of what is to come.
  2. Something of value given by the buyer to the seller, by way of token or pledge, to bind the bargain and prove the sale.

Verb

  1. To use in earnest.

Extensive Definition

An earnest payment (sometimes called earnest money or simply earnest, or alternatively a good-faith deposit) is a deposit towards the purchase of real estate made by a buyer to demonstrate that he/she is serious (earnest) about wanting to complete the purchase. When a buyer makes an offer to buy residential real estate, he/she generally signs a contract and pays a sum acceptable to the seller by way of earnest money. The amount varies enormously, depending upon local custom and the state of the local market at the time of contract negotiations.
In very lively markets (as experienced on the East and West coasts of the US between 2000 and 2005) earnest money deposits could be as high as 5% of the sales price or more. In other communities, as little as $500 or $1000 is acceptable.
If the seller accepts the offer, the earnest money is held in escrow by the real estate broker (in states like New York) or by a settlement or title company (in states like California, Florida, and Texas) until closing and is then applied to the buyer's portion of the remaining costs. If the offer is rejected, the earnest money is usually returned, since no binding contract has been entered into. If the buyer retracts the offer or does not fulfill its obligations under the contract, the earnest is forfeited. Therefore, it is generally in the seller's best interest to see as high an earnest money deposit as possible.
In ancient times, the earnest payment was called an earnest penny, and also known as Arles penny, God's penny, or Argentum Dei. It signified money given to bind a bargain, especially for the purchase or hiring of a servant. Black's Law Dictionary, Sixth Ed. Et cepit de praedicto Henrico tres denarios de Argento Dei prae manibus. Another related term was luck money, which was an amount given back to the buyer by the seller on the completion of a deal, for luck.

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Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

abandoned, acquitment, acquittal, acquittance, advertent, afire, agog, alert, all ears, all eyes, amortization, amortizement, ardent, assiduous, attention, attentive, aware, awe-inspiring, bail, binder, bond, bound, bound and determined, burning, busy, careful, cash, cash payment, clearance, committed, concentrated, conscientious, conscious, debt service, decided, decisive, decorous, dedicated, definite, defrayal, defrayment, demure, deposit, determined, devoted, devout, diligent, disbursal, discharge, doling out, down payment, eager, earnest money, enthusiasm, enthusiastic, escrow, faithful, fatal, fateful, fervent, fervid, fiery, finical, finicking, finicky, firm, flaming, formal, formidable, frowning, gage, grave, grim, grim-faced, grim-visaged, guarantee, handsel, hard-working, hearty, heated, heavy, heedful, hire purchase, hire purchase plan, hock, hostage, hot, hot-blooded, impassioned, imposing, in earnest, industrious, installment, installment plan, intense, intent, intent on, intentive, intentness, interest, interest payment, keen, liquidation, long-faced, loyal, mainprise, meticulous, mindful, monthly payments, never-never, nice, niggling, no-nonsense, observant, observing, obstinate, on fire, on the ball, on the job, open-eared, open-eyed, openmouthed, passionate, pawn, paying, paying off, paying out, paying up, payment, payment in kind, payoff, perfervid, perseverant, persevering, persistent, pignus, pledge, portentous, prepayment, pressing, purposeful, quarterly payments, quittance, recognizance, red-hot, regardful, regular payments, relentless, remittance, replevin, replevy, resolute, resolved, retirement, satisfaction, security, sedate, sedulous, serious, seriousness, settlement, sincere, single-minded, sinking-fund payment, sober, sober-minded, sobersided, solemn, somber, spirited, spot cash, staid, steady, stone-faced, straight-faced, surety, tenacious, thoughtful, token, token payment, undertaking, unsmiling, vadimonium, vadium, vehement, warm, warmth, warrant, watchful, weekly payments, weighty, white-hot, wholehearted, zeal, zealous
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