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noun an·chor \ˈaŋ-kər\

Simple Definition of anchor

  • : a heavy device that is attached to a boat or ship by a rope or chain and that is thrown into the water to hold the boat or ship in place

  • : a person or thing that provides strength and support

  • : a large store that attracts customers and other businesses to an area (such as a shopping mall)

Full Definition of anchor

  1. 1 :  a device usually of metal attached to a ship or boat by a cable and cast overboard to hold it in a particular place by means of a fluke that digs into the bottom

  2. 2 :  a reliable or principal support :  mainstay

  3. 3 :  something that serves to hold an object firmly

  4. 4 :  an object shaped like a ship's anchor

  5. 5 :  an anchorman or anchorwoman

  6. 6 :  the member of a team (as a relay team) that competes last

  7. 7 :  a large business (as a department store) that attracts customers and other businesses to a shopping center or mall

  8. 8 :  a fixed object (as a tree or a piton) to which a climber's rope is secured

an·chor·lessplay \-ləs\ adjective
at anchor
  1. :  being anchored

Examples of anchor

  1. The ship dropped anchor in a secluded harbor.

  2. He described his wife as the emotional anchor of his life.

  3. a local bank that has been the financial anchor of the community

Illustration of anchor

Origin of anchor

Middle English ancre, from Old English ancor, from Latin anchora, from Greek ankyra; akin to Old English anga hook — more at angle

First Known Use: before 12th century

Other Nautical Terms



verb an·chor

Simple Definition of anchor

  • : to keep a ship or boat from moving by using an anchor

  • : to connect (something) to a solid base : to hold (something) firmly in place

  • : to be the strongest and most important part of (something)

Full Definition of anchor

an·choredan·chor·ingplay \-k(ə-)riŋ\

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to hold in place in the water by an anchor <anchor a ship>

  3. 2 :  to secure firmly :  fix <anchor a post in concrete>

  4. 3 :  to act or serve as an anchor for <it is she who is anchoring the rebuilding campaign — G. D. Boone> <anchoring the evening news>

  5. intransitive verb
  6. 1 :  to cast anchor

  7. 2 :  to become fixed

Examples of anchor

  1. They anchored the ship in the bay.

  2. The ship anchored in the bay.

  3. a star quarterback who has anchored the team's offense for many years

13th Century

First Known Use of anchor

13th century

ANCHOR Defined for Kids



noun an·chor \ˈaŋ-kər\

Definition of anchor

  1. 1 :  a heavy device attached to a ship by a cable or chain and used to hold the ship in place when thrown overboard

  2. 2 :  someone or something that provides strength and support <He is the family's anchor.>



verb an·chor

Definition of anchor


  1. 1 :  to hold or become held in place with an anchor <The riverboat was anchored at a sandy beach below tall bluffs. — Janet Shaw, Meet Kirsten>

  2. 2 :  to fasten tightly <The cables are anchored to the bridge.>

Medical Dictionary


transitive verb an·chor \ˈaŋ-kər\

Medical Definition of anchor

an·choredan·chor·ing \-k(ə-)riŋ\play

  1. :  to relate psychologically to a point or frame of reference (as to a person, a situation, an object, or a conceptual scheme)

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up anchor? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


February 13, 2016

a trying or distressing experience

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