any identifying or distinguishing mark or characteristic: The mayor's statement had all the earmarks of dirty politics.
a mark of identification made on the ear 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 pork barrel.
to set aside for a specific purpose, use, recipient, etc.: to earmark goods for export.