a. An identifying feature or characteristic: a novel with all the earmarks of success.
b. An identifying mark on the ear of a domestic animal.
2. An item or provision in a legislative bill that allots money for a project or institution in a specific locale, usually written or sponsored by a representative from that area.
tr.v. ear·marked, ear·mark·ing, ear·marks
1. To reserve or designate for a particular purpose. See Synonyms at allocate.
2. To mark the ear of (a domestic animal) for identification.
3. To specify or allocate (funds) to be spent in a legislative earmark.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.