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[eer-mahrk] /ˈɪərˌmɑrk/

any identifying or distinguishing or characteristic:
The mayor’s statement had all the earmarks of dirty politics.
a mark of identification made on the of an animal to show ownership.
a provision in a piece of Congressional legislation that directs specified federal funds to specific projects, programs, organizations, or individuals:
Lawmakers requested almost 40,000 earmarks worth more than $100 billion directed to their home districts and states.
Compare .
verb (used with object)
to set aside for a specific purpose, use, recipient, etc.:
to earmark goods for export.
to mark with an earmark.
verb (transitive)
to set aside or mark out for a specific purpose
to make an identification mark on the ear of (a domestic animal)
a mark of identification on the ear of a domestic animal
any distinguishing mark or characteristic

late 15c., from ear (n.1) + mark (n.1). Originally a cut or mark in the ear of sheep and cattle, serving as a sign of ownership (also a punishment of certain criminals); first recorded 1570s in figurative sense “stamp of ownership.”

1590s, “to identify by an earmark,” from earmark (n.). Meaning “to set aside money for a special purpose” is attested by 1868. Related: Earmarked; earmarking.


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  • Earmuff

    [eer-muhf] /ˈɪərˌmʌf/ noun 1. either of a pair of often adjustable coverings for protecting the in cold weather. /ˈɪəˌmʌf/ noun 1. one of a pair of pads of fur or cloth, joined by a headband, for keeping the ears warm

  • Earn

    [urn] /ɜrn/ verb (used with object) 1. to gain or get in return for one’s labor or service: to earn one’s living. 2. to merit as compensation, as for service; deserve: to receive more than one has earned. 3. to acquire through merit: to earn a reputation for honesty. 4. to gain as due return […]

  • Earned-income

    noun 1. income from wages, salaries, fees, or the like, accruing from labor or services performed by the earner. noun 1. income derived from paid employment and comprising mainly wages and salaries

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