General Question

julia999's avatar

Is "earnesty" a word?

Asked by julia999 (338 points ) October 23rd, 2009

I was writing a review for a movie we watched in R.E., and I Microsoft Office 2007 pointed it out as an error. I haven’t found any dictionaries that appear to have the word ‘earnesty’, though I did find a website that said ‘in all earnesty’.

I’m positive I’ve heard it before, is it a word?

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18 Answers

Darwin's avatar

You may be thinking of the phrase “in all honesty.” Earnesty is not a word.

Jeruba's avatar

“Earnestly” is, though (she said earnestly). Between that and “honesty,” suggested by Darwin, it could sound familiar enough to fool you. But no, it isn’t.

Psychedelic_Zebra's avatar

Earnesty is my Uncle. Uncle Ernest E.

augustlan's avatar

Definitely not.

nxknxk's avatar

Better to go with earnestness. But making up words is fun, too. Especially when they sound real and people assume you know what you’re talking about.
... But go with earnestness.

Darwin's avatar

If you start to use “earnesty” everywhere it might catch on and end up in the dictionary in a few years or so. Or it might not.

Psychedelic_Zebra's avatar

@nxknxk that’s why talking to live telemarketers used to be fun. You could stick some gibberish into the conversation and screw with their minds. Gods, I miss those days.

julia999's avatar

Thanks so much everyone!

weiheng1998's avatar

it is wrong for you to say it is a word as even if it is a a word like what BBGsomecows said the meaning might not be the same as other meaning of that word from other specific dictionarys

the100thmonkey's avatar

It’s a word. It’s a word that the OED researchers found used twice in the late 16th century.

Use it if you wish, but expect to be corrected and/or given a “WTF?” face.

Darwin's avatar

It is currently a last name but really isn’t considered a word these days, 16th century not withstanding. After all, we no longer accept the following as correct modern English:

“SUmair is IcUmin in, lU-duh sing cUckU
GrOweth sAd and blOweth mAd and springth the wUduh nU
ow-uh blAteth after lahhhmb, lOth after cal-vuh cU
Bullock stairteth, buck-uh vairteth, mUrI sing cUckU
Well singst thU cUckU; nA swick thU nevair nU
Sing cUckU, nU….”

Jeruba's avatar

We do also have the expression “in earnest,” which we use like this: “She thought I was kidding when I offered to drive her home, but I was in earnest.” It means “sincere” or “for real.”

Great point, @Darwin, about the fact that a word’s being in use hundreds of years ago does not mean it is regarded as legitimate now. The OED calls earnesty “rare” and “obscure.” Such language survives mostly in poetry (and historical fiction). If a person had written a poem that used the word earnesty and that otherwise showed both supreme competence with the English language and an apparent logical reason for using an archaic expression, then it might seem to belong.

It does not belong in a film review.

NewZen's avatar

@Jeruba Speaking of the OED – did you get the new edition you were speaking of?

Jeruba's avatar

No. The historical one? I would love to, but it is not in my budget. There are currently two editions of the OED in my living room, along with three other major dictionaries, and at least twenty more distributed around the house, including a huge one of Canadian English. I would probably be shot if I proposed to add another.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

I have heard the phrase “in all earnesty” used, but I believe the correct form is “in all earnestness.”

Psychedelic_Zebra's avatar

@Jeruba I like your concept of coffee table books. One could learn something without even trying at your house.

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