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 \ ˈaŋ-​kər-​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

With Gobert as the anchor, even a manufactured mismatch resulted in a difficult shot for Team USA. Michael Shapiro,, "Team USA’s Backup Squad Finally Falls in FIBA World Cup," 11 Sep. 2019 With two years and more than $40 million remaining on the six-year contract Cueto signed prior to the 2016 season, the Giants plan to rely on Cueto to serve as a rotation anchor. Kerry Crowley, The Mercury News, "Johnny Cueto’s performance reminds Giants what they missed, what they desperately need," 11 Sep. 2019 The two of us sat down and easily started chatting about her decision to come back to TV, the way The Morning Show tackles the #MeToo movement — hint: head on — and how her experience as a woman in Hollywood led to this role as a TV anchor. Samantha Highfill,, "Reporter's Notebook: Inside EW's trip to Jennifer Aniston's home and dinner with Reese Witherspoon," 11 Sep. 2019 But for 24 years, McLeod made his name in Detroit, first as a sports anchor at Channel 2 from 1982, then as the No. Kirkland Crawford, Detroit Free Press, "Fred McLeod, the 'consummate professional' in Detroit, Cleveland sports TV, dies," 10 Sep. 2019 The facility will also serve as an anchor to bring together workers of Port San Antonio. Randy Diamond,, "Port San Antonio experiencing growth spurt," 6 Sep. 2019 Carell has just lost his job as Aniston’s co-anchor on the titular Morning Show, a nationally beloved talk TV show à la the Today show, Good Morning America, etc. Allegra Frank, Vox, "Apple’s The Morning Show, starring Jennifer Aniston, looks dour and joyless in its first trailer," 19 Aug. 2019 As for the future of fashion shows at Hudson Yards, the events and talent management company IMG is the owner and producer of New York Fashion Week: The Shows, which acts as the anchor for the event. Marc Bain, Quartzy, "The Equinox and SoulCycle backlash is spreading into the fashion world," 14 Aug. 2019 The sweet moment comes as King has gained widespread acclaim for her work as an anchor on CBS This Morning, and no one is celebrating her success more than Winfrey. Robyn Merrett,, "Besties Oprah Winfrey and Gayle King Hilariously Guess the Meaning of Today's Slang Words," 13 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

In 2004, Electronic Arts turned down a $36.9 million incentive package to anchor a digital media center downtown. Marco Santana,, "EA lease allows it to leave Maitland in 2021. Could it move to downtown Orlando?," 13 Aug. 2019 Burke, a liberal conservative, believed fervently that changing societies needed to be anchored by tradition and custom. The Economist, "Long live the Tory revolution!," 1 Aug. 2019 The four brothers were scattered across the country while the city struggled to recover from Hurricane Katrina in 2005 but returned to anchor the festival in 2007. NBC News, "Art Neville, famed New Orleans musician, dead at 81," 22 July 2019 Gibbs Hill Lighthouse, located just over a mile from Horseshoe Bay Beach, offers incredible views of nearly the entire island, including a clear sightline to the massive cruise ships that are anchored down at King’s Wharf on the west side. Kelly Vaughan,, "Bermuda i n 72 hours: Yes, really," 17 Sep. 2019 More than half of Alabama’s are anchored by a university, airport, hospital or military base, and more than half have Interstate access. William Thornton |, al, "Alabama looking at $1 billion from Opportunity Zone investments," 15 Sep. 2019 Already, ship tracking data shows some 16 tankers that can carry 2 million barrels of crude anchored off Saudi Arabia’s eastern coast until further notice. Washington Post, "Aramco attacks show company entanglement in Saudi politics," 15 Sep. 2019 He was later seen wearing a thumb stabilization wrap that is anchored to the wrist. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Drew Brees has thumb injury, could need surgery," 15 Sep. 2019 Its central element is a cable that would be anchored to the moon and span more than 200,000 miles to a point above Earth's surface — perhaps an orbit about 27,000 miles from our planet. Jeremy Hsu, NBC News, "A space elevator to the moon could be doable — and surprisingly cheap," 13 Sep. 2019

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

14 Oct 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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