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

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 : a broadcaster (as on a news program) who introduces reports by other broadcasters and usually reads the news : an anchorman 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 anchor (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

Other Words from anchor


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

Synonyms & Antonyms for anchor

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

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Examples of anchor in a Sentence

Noun 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 Verb 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 See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The Orion’s captain, William Barney, dropped anchor. Gary Kamiya, San Francisco Chronicle, 13 May 2022 In the great room, a cozy sectional now welcomes the active family to drop anchor for a bit and watch boats bob about the bay. Sally Finder Weepie, Better Homes & Gardens, 5 May 2022 Sushi Nakazawa is dropping anchor at The Peninsula Beverly Hills from May 12 through June 11 in an exclusive pop-up up at the hotel’s Belvedere Terrace. David Hochman, Forbes, 30 Apr. 2022 The Norwegian Pearl dropped anchor in Frenchman Bay, and visitors were ferried to shore on tenders. Morgan Hines, USA TODAY, 28 Apr. 2022 Standard tours are anything but, dropping anchor to view an underwater city, swim in a pirate's cave and explore an ancient fortress. Lisa Morrow, CNN, 25 Apr. 2022 For those keen to get out and explore, options range from shopping for local artisan goods, taking a cooking class or dropping anchor in one cove all day to dive and fish. Julia Zaltzman, Robb Report, 22 Apr. 2022 The seas were growing rough, and one passenger told Reuters that Hurtado had dropped anchor in an apparent attempt to steady the overloaded boat. Kristina Davis, San Diego Union-Tribune, 6 Apr. 2022 Will need to prove ability to drop anchor against college competition. oregonlive, 21 Mar. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb And just as with globalization, a new leadership consciousness is required to anchor this new kind of organization. Ginny Whitelaw, Forbes, 1 May 2022 Hayes is a finisher as a pass or run blocker and can anchor as well as anyone in this group. Eddie Brown, San Diego Union-Tribune, 29 Apr. 2022 Amazon announced the plans in February 2021 for the eye-catching, 350-foot tower to anchor the second phase of its redevelopment plans. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 26 Apr. 2022 Moving the fuel to and from the terminals requires multibillion-dollar infrastructure investments that threaten to anchor regions to the fossil fuel for decades. Washington Post, 21 Apr. 2022 Colorful, patterned wallpapers anchor the rooms at this hip Phoenix hotel with a pool and rooftop bar. Kristin Scharkey, Sunset Magazine, 19 Apr. 2022 With corporate and residential partners, Mayor Kate Gallego said, a cool corridor like the new one on Baseline can anchor a broader urban forest. Brandon Loomis, The Arizona Republic, 17 Apr. 2022 These voices are the early warning signs of another crisis in the making, a civil war in Afghanistan that again will harbor and anchor terrorist groups like Al-Qaida and others in the region that can pose serious threats to global security. Wazhma Frogh, CNN, 22 Apr. 2022 Hayes is a finisher as a pass or run blocker and can anchor as well as anyone in this group. Eddie Brown, San Diego Union-Tribune, 22 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

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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Time Traveler for anchor

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near anchor




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Statistics for anchor

Last Updated

21 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Anchor.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for anchor


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, an American Girl
2 : to fasten tightly The cables are anchored to the bridge.


transitive verb
an·​chor | \ ˈaŋ-kər How to pronounce anchor (audio) \
anchored; anchoring\ -​k(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce anchor (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)

More from Merriam-Webster on anchor

Nglish: Translation of anchor for Spanish Speakers

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


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