noun, often attributive
an·​chor | \ ˈaŋ-kər \

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 \

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 \ 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

There's no word regarding a possible live presentation with the two anchors (similar to Witherspoon's recent visit), but times and more info are promised to be released soon. Jessica Leigh Mattern, Country Living, "Chip and Joanna Gaines Are Hosting Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb at Magnolia Market," 10 Nov. 2018 Candice Bergen will reprise her role as a dogged investigative journalist and TV anchor, and her character's son (played by Jake McDorman) will star on a rival morning show. Sam Dangremond, Town & Country, "Murphy Brown Is Coming Back to Television," 19 July 2018 Cory Smith, who has been a reporter and weekend-evening anchor for KXAS/Channel 5 since December 2015, is leaving the station. Robert Philpot, star-telegram, "A weekend anchor is leaving NBC 5. Here's who's replacing him," 9 July 2018 And Bill O’Reilly, while still the No. 1 anchor on Fox News, challenged Mr. Trump over his sympathies for Vladimir Putin. New York Times, "Fox News Once Gave Trump a Perch. Now It’s His Bullhorn.," 1 July 2018 At the time, the E! co-anchor was living life in the fast lane, pushing her mind and body to its limits. Kara Ladd, Redbook, "5 Wellness Tips Maria Menounos Learned After a Terrifying Diagnosis," 21 June 2018 The organisms can spread by hitching a ride on boats and other equipment, including trailers, anchors, live wells, buckets and bilges. Paul A. Smith, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Smith: Quagga mussels, Eurasian water milfoil, spiny water fleas ... and a catchy tune," 20 June 2018 The Charles Theatre remains a community anchor, and Jed Dietz of the Maryland Film Festival recently told me the Parkway Theatre saw some 32,000 people visit this historic North Avenue landmark in the first year after its renovation. Jacques Kelly,, "Jacques Kelly: Penn Station still a neighborhood showpiece, and potential powerhouse," 2 June 2018 Crisp squares of fish skin provide a briny anchor for snapper ceviche brightened with lime oil; strips of fried tempeh glazed in sweet soy become filling for lettuce cups. Garrett Snyder, Los Angeles Magazine, "Restaurant Review: Kasih Has Bold Indonesian Flavors With a High-Gloss Finish," 22 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The number of shoppers at Sears stores fell by 11% year-over-year during the recent Black Friday weekend, while shoppers to malls that are anchored by Sears rose 2%, according to data firm Thasos Group. Lillian Rizzo, WSJ, "Eddie Lampert Wants to Save Sears but Mall Owners Say Don’t Bother," 8 Jan. 2019 The rafts are anchored with ropes and Adilang said strong friction caused them to break. Ali Kotarumalos, Fox News, "Indonesian teenager rescued after drifting 7 weeks at sea," 24 Sep. 2018 Beyond the fact that electric motors are a natural fit for sports cars because of the speed generated through instant torque, Zellmer says the success of his company's e-vehicle will be anchored to an inherently Porsche road feel. Marco Della Cava, USA TODAY, "Porsche CEO: Newly renamed Taycan electric sedan drawing 'exceptional' interest," 8 June 2018 The defense, anchored by Marc Anthony Baez, limited the Heat to only four second-half points. Emmett Hall,, "Tamarac youth basketball crowns junior, senior division champs," 24 June 2018 But for those who want to stay by the mountain in Teton Village—already anchored by the Four Seasons Jackson Hole and Hotel Terra—the buzz this season is about Caldera House. Alex Postman, Condé Nast Traveler, "If You're Skiing the Rockies This Winter, Read This First," 4 Dec. 2018 Some good news, though: The offensive line, anchored by veteran newcomer Josh Sitton, could be the best Tannehill has played behind. Dennis Waszak Jr., The Seattle Times, "NFL 2018: Still Patriots and then everyone else in AFC East," 27 Aug. 2018 The episode revolved around a speed dating event anchored by all seven cast members, including the ones with long-term boyfriends., "The Most Awkward Parts Of The RHONY Speed Dating Adventure," 12 July 2018 Three have already been built: the entertainment district anchored by Infinity Music Hall; the Front Street Lofts apartments; and the UConn campus. Kenneth R. Gosselin,, "UConn Campus At Hartford's Front Street Gets First Retail Leases," 26 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.

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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

21 Jan 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 \

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 \
anchored; anchoring\ -​k(ə-​)riŋ \

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

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).


a complex dispute or argument

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