anchor

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

anchor

verb
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

Noun

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from anchor

Noun

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

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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

These clauses allow other tenants to demand rent reductions or a penalty-free pullout if anchor stores leave the mall. Esther Fung, WSJ, "Starwood’s Israeli Bond Price Plummets as Mall Values Erode," 11 Dec. 2018 The anchor store was a Schnucks supermarket, and Turner drove a few minutes away to a boxy, one-story house to speak with an elderly woman who’d been banned from the store for putting cheaper price tags on groceries. Ben Austen, The New Republic, "How one American city chose to tackle crime, combat racism, and reckon with the legacy of police brutality," 21 June 2018 Landmark’s original anchor stores either have been bought out, went bankrupt or are clinging to life — like many in the retail business. Michael Corkery, New York Times, "A Macy’s Goes From Mall Mainstay to Homeless Shelter," 13 June 2018 For more than 20 years, a vast section of the Northridge Fashion Center has remained idle after one of its anchor stores departed the mall. Shelby Grad, latimes.com, "Essential California: How Garcetti picked his police chief," 11 June 2018 Buy Photo Nothing signals the death of a shopping mall or a downtown retail district quite like the loss of its main anchor store. Inga Saffron, Philly.com, "Ardmore's Suburban Square shows what's in store for downtowns as shopping moves online," 31 May 2018 The Sears store at Park North first opened as an anchor store at Central Park Mall in 1968 and remained after the mall closed in 2002. Joshua Fechter, San Antonio Express-News, "Sears to close San Antonio store near North Star Mall," 31 May 2018 Sears has shuttered its anchor store at Orland Square, but the building’s owner, Seritage, plans to redevelop the space to include a 10-screen movie theater. Mike Nolan, Daily Southtown, "Employee buyouts planned in Orland Park to cut costs," 18 May 2018 This anchor store of The Trailhead project was initially rejected by some in the Upper West Side PHX community — a Facebook group pushing for commercial development in the area to move away from chain restaurants and big box stores. Laura Gómez, azcentral, "Arizona's first 'upscale' Safeway, restaurants and boutiques planned for north Peoria," 9 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Hall's eye-rolls and audible sighs as the only woman in the room anchors the show to a tenuous set of morals, or even politics, and serves as a layer of 2019 self-awareness placed over the 1987 locker room dialogue. Bridget Read, Vogue, "Black Monday on Showtime: Maybe Wall Street Isn't Funny Anymore," 21 Jan. 2019 The organisms that made the largest and most prized of these shells would have anchored themselves to the rocky seafloor in clear water, deep enough that only skilled free divers could reach them. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "The skulls of ancient pearl divers come with abnormal ear canal bone growths," 28 Dec. 2018 The 336-room hotel had to be anchored to the quarry’s vertical wall. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Shanghai luxury hotel is built inside an abandoned quarry," 5 Dec. 2018 Of those, four were buoyant and would float, but had been anchored to the ocean floor, Miles said. Asia Fields, The Seattle Times, "Navy says mystery mine found off Bainbridge Island was from 2005 exercise," 31 Aug. 2018 The couples are always either tied into a rope or anchored to the cliff. Janine Puhak, Fox News, "New Hampshire wedding photographers capture couples at stunning heights," 18 Aug. 2018 In March 2015, an inmate at the 77th Regional Jail hanged himself by tying a sweater around his neck and anchoring it to a bunk bed frame. Cindy Chang, latimes.com, "LAPD hasn't taken basic measures to prevent suicides in its jails, scathing report says," 15 June 2018 The regional grocery store chain, which was converted from a Food Lion in 2016, closed its 43,000-square-foot space June 1, leaving a vacancy in the Columbia village center that was designed to be anchored by a supermarket. Kate Magill, Columbia Flier, "Once again, an Oakland Mills Village Center grocery closes," 25 June 2018 The rotation of the future was to be anchored by Yordano Ventura. Sam Mellinger, kansascity, "Not just bad but historically so — how the Royals can (eventually) laugh at 2018," 22 June 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.

See More

First Known Use of anchor

Noun

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

Verb

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about anchor

Statistics for anchor

Last Updated

13 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for anchor

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for anchor

anchor

noun

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)

anchor

verb

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)

anchor

noun
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.

anchor

verb
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)

Keep scrolling for more

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

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about anchor

Comments on anchor

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

WORD OF THE DAY

to speak slightingly about or to degrade

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Challenging Vocabulary Quiz Returns!

  • stylized drawing of woman pole vaulting across gap to get trophy
  • Which is a synonym of fuliginous?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!