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

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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Fox News anchor Chris Wallace was the first presidential debate moderator and Susan Page, the Washington bureau chief of USA Today, moderated the vice-presidential debate. Wsj Staff, WSJ, "Presidential Debate Schedule: When Is the Next Trump-Biden Debate?," 8 Oct. 2020 Alabama center Landon Dickerson might not be a meteorologist, but the fifth-year senior is the 325-pound anchor in the middle of the Tide’s offensive line. Mike Rodak |, al, "Examining Alabama’s ‘disappointing’ start for running game," 7 Oct. 2020 President Donald Trump did not arrive in Cleveland ahead of the first presidential debate in time to get tested for coronavirus, according to Fox News anchor Chris Wallace, who moderated the debate on Sept. 29 in Ohio. William Cummings, USA TODAY, "Live updates on Trump and COVID-19: 'Feeling much better' in hospital video; Biden gets tested again today," 4 Oct. 2020 Fox News anchor Chris Wallace, who moderated the debate, said Friday that Clinic staff asked everyone to wear a mask, which Trump’s family declined to do. cleveland, "Donald Trump’s family allowed to go maskless at presidential debate, despite Cleveland Clinic rules," 2 Oct. 2020 What role did news anchor Chris Wallace play in the first presidential debate, which was held at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio? CNN, "CNN 10 - October 2, 2020," 1 Oct. 2020 The messy debate, moderated by Fox News anchor Chris Wallace in Cleveland, was the first time that viewers could see the major-party nominees on the same stage. Gerry Smith,, "Trump-Biden Debate Draws Fewer Viewers Than Clinton Matchup," 30 Sep. 2020 Linebacker Roy Smith is an anchor in the middle of the defense and defensive lineman Isaiah Rushing should be key up front for a team coached by third-year coach Joe Harris. Christopher Dabe Staff Writer,, "District 8-4A football preview: Lakeshore positioned for another title run," 25 Sep. 2020 Salinas and Elliott Rodriguez, a Cuban-American who is a news anchor at the CBS Miami affiliate, divorced in 2007. Luisita Lopez Torregrosa, Vogue, "‘The Latino Vote Is the Sleeping Giant About to Awaken’: As a Crucial Election Looms, an Iconic TV Anchor Reinvents Herself," 23 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Starting in November, Reisbeck will co-anchor the CBS affiliate's 5 and 10 p.m. news on Channel 58, and at 9 p.m. on WMLW (Channel 49), with Natalie Shepherd. Chris Foran, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "TV news anchor Jessob Reisbeck is returning to Milwaukee, this time at WDJT-TV (Channel 58)," 21 Sep. 2020 Because Cayman lacks a permanent pier, cruise ships must anchor in George Town harbor and bring passengers to shore aboard lifeboats and local tender vessels. Brian Major, Condé Nast Traveler, "Why the Cayman Islands Is Turning Away Cruise Ships Until Next Year," 11 Sep. 2020 Carney and sophomore Jarmaine Hopson will anchor the line, and juniors Jace Lackford and Darieon Strawter return in the secondary. Jason Frakes, The Courier-Journal, "What to know about the Butler, Manual, PRP and St. Xavier football teams in 2020," 9 Sep. 2020 Jalen Mayfield, a promising talent considered by some to be a potential first-round pick in 2021, would anchor U-M's line. Orion Sang, Detroit Free Press, "Ryan Hayes is the face of Michigan football's new-look offensive line," 4 Sep. 2020 Those trees anchor the ecosystem, providing habitat for birds, bats, insects, and mushrooms. National Geographic, "At France’s newest national park, it’s all about the trees," 1 Sep. 2020 Indiana recruit Joshua Sales, Northern Illinois recruit Pete Nygra and Kanon Kelley, all seniors, anchor the offensive line. Kyle Neddenriep, The Indianapolis Star, "Indiana high school football preview: A closer look at Indianapolis-area Class 6A teams," 19 Aug. 2020 Senior offensive lineman Noah Reed (6-5, 310) will anchor the line. al, "First-year coach David Lloyd hoping to return Randolph to playoff contention," 13 Aug. 2020 Three selections from Winogrand’s 15 Big Shots portfolio anchor the exhibit. Lily Katzman, Smithsonian Magazine, "This Exhibit Asks You to Caption Photos of People Caught in Mid-Sentence," 28 Feb. 2020

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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Time Traveler for anchor

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for anchor

Last Updated

11 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Anchor.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for anchor


How to pronounce anchor (audio)

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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