Words of the Day: Earn and Urn – Homonyms!
earn / ûrn
1. to gain or to get something through work or service
You cannot stay out of trouble by spending more than you earn.
Abraham Lincoln 1809-1865
2. to acquire or deserve through effort or action
Unwilling service earns no thanks.
3. to gain a return on investment
If you need to put your money in a safe and secure place and you want it to earn interest, Treasury bonds are safer than putting it in any bank as a deposit or putting it anywhere else, because they are backed by the full faith and credit of the United States Government.
Jim Cooper, 1954 –
From the Anglo-Saxon verb earnian of the same meaning.
Thank you to Allen Ward for providing the etymologies for earn and urn.
urn / ûrn
1. a decorative vase that is usually footed or has a pedestal
With one hand he put a penny in the urn of poverty, and with the other took a shilling out.
Robert Pollok, 1798 – 1827
2. a closed cylindrical container with a spigot used for making and serving hot drinks
There is the white damask cloth, the little blue service, the silver gilt urn, the chiseled milk pitcher, and flowers all round!
From “The Petty Troubles of Married Life, Complete” by Honore de Balzac, 1799 – 1850
3. a container used to hold the ashes of a cremated body
I don’t want to spend a fortune on my cremation urn, but I really do want to look nice at my memorial service.
Lynn Flewelling, 1958 –
From the Latin noun urna (vase).