[intransitive and transitive]BEto receive a particular amount of money for the work that you doCOLLOCATIONS COLLOCATIONS earn money earn a wage/salary earn a living (=earn enough money for the things you need to live) earn a crustBritish English (=earn enough money to live) be earning British English (=to have a job) earn good money/earn well (=earn a lot of money) earn a fortune (=earn an extremely large amount of money)
a) to do jobs in return for being given a home and food:
We older children were expected to earn our keep.
b) to be useful enough to be worth the time or money spent:
These aircraft are still earning their keep.
WORD CHOICE: WORD CHOICE: gain, earn, getDo not use gain to mean 'get money for work you do'. Use earn• people earning less than £10,000 per year • How much does he earn?Gainmeans to get something useful or necessary, whether or not you deserve it• I have gained a lot of useful experience. • Her problems seem to have gained her more support from the public.Use earn rather than gainto say that you get something because you deserve it• Through hard work you will earn the respect of your colleagues.Get can be used as a less formal way of saying gain or earn• I get $20 an hour. • He has started to get a reputation for being awkward. ➔ See alsogain
Definition from the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English Advanced Learner's Dictionary.