noun, often attributive
an·​chor | \ ˈaŋ-kər How to pronounce anchor (audio) \

Definition of anchor

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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 : a reliable or principal support : mainstay a quarterback who has been the anchor of the team's offense
3 : something that serves to hold an object firmly a bolt-and-nut cable anchor
4 : an object shaped like a ship's anchor
5 : an anchorman (see anchorman sense 2) or anchorwoman a TV news anchor
6 : the member of a team (such as a relay team) that competes last
7 : a large business (such as a department store) that attracts customers and other businesses to a shopping center or mall
8 mountaineering : a fixed object (such as a tree or a piton) to which a climber's rope is secured
at anchor
: being anchored a ship at anchor


anchored; anchoring\ ˈaŋ-​k(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce anchoring (audio) \

Definition of anchor (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to hold in place in the water by an anchor anchor a ship
2 : to secure firmly : fix anchor a post in concrete
3 : to act or serve as an anchor for … it is she who is anchoring the rebuilding campaign …— Gray D. Boone anchoring the evening news

intransitive verb

1 : to cast anchor
2 : to become fixed

Illustration of anchor

Illustration of anchor


anchor 1: A yachtsman's: 1 ring, 2 stock, 3 shank, 4 bill, 5 fluke, 6 arm, 7 throat, 8 crown; B fluke; C grapnel; D plow; E mushroom

In the meaning defined above

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Other Words from anchor


anchorless \ -​ləs How to pronounce anchorless (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for anchor

Synonyms: Noun

anchorperson, newscaster, newsreader [chiefly British]

Synonyms: Verb

catch, clamp, fasten, fix, hitch, moor, secure, set

Antonyms: Verb

loose, loosen, unfasten, unfix, unloose, unloosen

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Examples of anchor in a Sentence


The ship dropped anchor in a secluded harbor. He described his wife as the emotional anchor of his life. a local bank that has been the financial anchor of the community


They anchored the ship in the bay. The ship anchored in the bay. a star quarterback who has anchored the team's offense for many years
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

News anchor Samantha Hayes wore a black headscarf on air. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "New Zealand Women Wear Headscarves to Honor Mosque Shooting Victims," 23 Mar. 2019 The 78-year-old former news anchor said on TV Sunday — among other things — that he's been saying for a long time that Hispanics need to work harder at assimilation. David Bauder, The Seattle Times, "Brokaw says he feels terrible commentary offended Hispanics," 28 Jan. 2019 And now, former Today anchor Tamron Hall has also chosen to speak out about how much KLG has meant to her. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Tamron Hall Finally Speaks Out About Kathie Lee Gifford Leaving the ‘Today’ Show," 17 Dec. 2018 Former Fox anchor Gretchen Carlson tweeted her excitement about the show. Kevin Kelleher, Fortune, "Russell Crowe Will Star as Roger Ailes on a New Showtime Series," 25 June 2018 At 29, Merri Bennett, a former TV anchor from Michigan, packed her clothes in her 1970 red Chevrolet Chevette and left on an adventure to move to Florida in 1989. Gabrielle Russon,, "Disney-MGM Studios moves on from Hollywood dreams to theme park reality," 14 June 2018 Anderson was also spotted arriving for day two of the baby shower, alongside Nonoo: News anchor, presenter, and author Gayle King was spotted arriving at The Mark Hotel on Wednesday. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Who's Attending Meghan Markle's Baby Shower in NYC?," 19 Feb. 2019 The ’90s anchor the Ekroth collection, while the ’80s influence the designer’s refashioning of Terinit. Laird Borrelli-persson, Vogue, "Rolf Ekroth, a Rising Finn, Scores Big With a Double Debut at Pitti Uomo," 10 Jan. 2019 Following the photos, CNN cut Griffin from hosting its New Year’s Eve show alongside co-anchor Anderson Cooper. Kathleen Joyce, Fox News, "Kathy Griffin claims she's on a 'kill list,' says industry still shuns her for Trump mask picture," 2 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

For Rousteing, this was essential to anchoring what has become a global brand. Amy Verner, Vogue, "Notice Anything Different? Balmain Has a Brand-New Logo," 3 Dec. 2018 On the bottom is a rubber foot, which does a good job of anchoring the touchscreen to your tabletop. Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica, "Google Home Hub review—Awesome hardware for Google’s nascent smart display software," 22 Oct. 2018 But an extended run of good health last season proved what’s possible in 2018 with the two of them anchoring the run defense. Rich Campbell,, "Bears need defensive linemen Akiem Hicks and Eddie Goldman to strengthen pass rush," 9 July 2018 The Eagles also figure to score with Sei anchoring the 4x400 and Andrew Look among the top seeds in the triple jump., "Oregon high school state track and field Day 1: Photos, highlights, team races, top performances," 18 May 2018 The lineup wasn't working Self envisioned Carlton Bragg playing alongside Landen Lucas in the post, with talented wing Josh Jackson anchoring the 3 spot on KU's 2016-17 roster. Jesse Newell, kansascity, "How KU's offense, in two years, became more like Villanova's | The Kansas City Star," 30 Mar. 2018 The Anchorage skier Saturday capped a wildly successful week of racing by anchoring Team Alaska to victory in the U-20 men's 3×3.3-kilometer relay race. Beth Bragg, Anchorage Daily News, "Anchorage skier Wonders completes medal haul with gold in relay," 11 Mar. 2018 With an impact driver and a few lag screws the bar was soon securely anchored to joists. Popular Mechanics, "To Install a Pull-Up Bar, We Built a Surfboard," 23 Mar. 2019 Additionally, Smash action on the Switch is anchored to the bottom of the screen more often than on Wii U, which tended to centralize combat's vertical axis. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Smash Bros. Ultimate review: The best fighting game on any Nintendo system," 6 Dec. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'anchor.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of anchor


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for anchor

Noun and Verb

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

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Statistics for anchor

Last Updated

15 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for anchor

The first known use of anchor was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for anchor



English Language Learners Definition of anchor

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: 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)



English Language Learners Definition of anchor (Entry 2 of 2)

: 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)


an·​chor | \ ˈaŋ-kər How to pronounce anchor (audio) \

Kids Definition of anchor

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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


anchored; anchoring

Kids Definition of anchor (Entry 2 of 2)

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 : to fasten tightly The cables are anchored to the bridge.
an·​chor | \ ˈaŋ-kər How to pronounce anchor (audio) \
anchored; anchoring\ -​k(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce anchoring (audio) \

Medical Definition of anchor

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on anchor

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with anchor

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for anchor

Spanish Central: Translation of anchor

Nglish: Translation of anchor for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of anchor for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about anchor

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