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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from anchor


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

Synonyms & Antonyms for anchor

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

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 Biden met with voters in Philadelphia where the proceedings were led by ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos. Stephen Battaglio Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "Biden’s audience on ABC tops NBC’s Trump event in the duel of town halls," 16 Oct. 2020 On ABC Biden engaged in a more sedate, policy-heavy discussion with anchor George Stephanopoulos on topics ranging from the Supreme Court and the 1994 crime bill to transgender rights. NBC News, "Dueling town halls, a coronavirus-scarred advocate for masks and a happy lemur," 16 Oct. 2020 ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos will moderate the event, which will take place in Philadelphia. oregonlive, "Joe Biden, Donald Trump host dueling town halls tonight: Time, TV channels, how to watch free live streams online (10/15/2020)," 15 Oct. 2020 Biden will be on a 90-minute forum moderated by ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos starting at 8 p.m. Ryan Teague Beckwith,, "Trump, Graham Keep Leads in South Carolina Poll: Campaign Update," 15 Oct. 2020 Biden’s town hall will be hosted on ABC beginning at the same time and will be moderated by anchor George Stephanopoulos. Emma Colton, Washington Examiner, "Media figures slam NBC's decision to host Trump town hall during Biden's: An 'attack on our democracy for ratings'," 14 Oct. 2020 To pitch your own tent on a white-sand beach, drop anchor on Petit Bois or Horn Island. Alex Ulam, WSJ, "5 Fall Camping Getaways—From Effortless to Truly Adventurous," 14 Oct. 2020 From the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos hosts the live event where undecided voters will have a chance to ask the president questions in advance of the November election. Katey Clifford, al, "How to watch President Trump’s town hall, ‘The President and the People: A 20/20 Special Event’," 15 Sep. 2020 Orange County hopes to hatch a plan to deal with problems around Bird Island, a popular spot for boaters to drop anchor in Lake Butler. Stephen Hudak,, "Bird Island party-goers on Lake Butler create a nest of problems, authorities say," 7 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Deandre Ayton will likely anchor the paint in the desert for much of the next decade. Jeremy Cluff, The Arizona Republic, "NBA draft grades: Phoenix Suns blasted for Jalen Smith pick at No. 10 in 2020 NBA draft," 19 Nov. 2020 News Sunrise broadcast, Dutes will co-anchor with Jason Guy, Michelle Imperato and Jazmin Bailey, alongside meteorologist Kellianne Klass and traffic reporter Jaclyn DeAugustino. Patrick Connolly,, "Orlando native Sheldon Dutes returns home to anchor WESH 2 News Sunrise," 16 Nov. 2020 Then anchor your look with cozy essentials, like a shearling jacket and hiking boots. Alexis Bennett, Vogue, "5 Easy Thanksgiving Outfits For Whatever You Have Planned," 16 Nov. 2020 Bradbury, last year’s first-round pick, would anchor the inside as the Vikings looked to bolster the guard positions to continue getting the most out of Cook’s prime. Mark Craig, Star Tribune, "Vikings midseason report: Offensive line hitting its stride with Cleveland aboard," 12 Nov. 2020 Nick Ford will anchor Utah’s veteran offensive line. oregonlive, "Lawsuits over football head injuries could pose a bigger threat to college athletics than coronavirus: Issues & Answers," 16 Oct. 2020 Werner will likely anchor there, much like Malik Harrison did in 2019 while leading OSU in tackles for the second time. Nathan Baird, cleveland, "Ohio State football’s Baron Browning can maximize his impact by forgetting about labels," 13 Oct. 2020 Whether paired with a formfitting bodysuit, a silk button-down, or chunky knitwear, roomy jeans can anchor any look with a touch of structure and downtown flair. Erin Parker, Glamour, "17 Cool ’90s Jeans That Are Perfect for Fall," 1 Oct. 2020 DL Tim Kennan and DL Zion Sharpe anchor a defense that has allowed only seven points this season while posting two shutouts. Dennis Victory, al, "5 Birmingham area high school football games to watch for Week 6," 22 Sep. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about anchor

Time Traveler for anchor

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for anchor

Last Updated

28 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Anchor.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Dec. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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)

Keep scrolling for more

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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