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\-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

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

The piece is the anchor for Butterfly Park, a trapezoid of grass and flowers created by neighborhood residents with the support of the Milwaukee Christian Center, which also commissioned Tia's new mural. Crocker Stephenson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Better Angels: Tia Richardson's newest mural is one neighborhood's vision of better things to come," 5 July 2018 The Wolves go nowhere without a line, and this guy is the anchor. Richard Obert, azcentral, "Trench work: Top 10 Arizona high school football offensive linemen in 2018," 2 July 2018 The center was designed and built in 1959 and since has been a commercial anchor for the far West Side. Steve Lord, Aurora Beacon-News, "City Council OKs new plans for Aurora University, West Plaza," 29 June 2018 The entire House is up, a little more than a third of the Senate is, too, and the President is an anchor on their odds. Philip Elliott, Time, "Why Republican Lawmakers Aren't Backing Trump on Family Separations," 20 June 2018 Harvey’s name is an anchor around the neck of the business. Madeleine Aggeler, The Cut, "Does Harvey Weinstein Profit From a Marchesa Comeback?," 10 June 2018 The system prompted Enbridge Energy to temporarily shutter twin oil and gas pipelines in Michigan that may have been recently damaged by a ship anchor strike. CBS News, "Greensboro, North Carolina, under state of emergency after apparent tornado hits city," 16 Apr. 2018 The storm system prompted Enbridge Energy to temporarily shutter twin oil and gas pipelines in Michigan that may have been recently damaged by a ship anchor strike. Fox News, "One dead in Greensboro tornado as spring storm system heads east," 15 Apr. 2018 Anderson, a safety, won two Super Bowls and was one of the anchors of the Dolphins' No-Name defense from the undefeated 1972 season. Jordan Mcpherson, miamiherald, "The Miami Dolphins will honor six of the best players in franchise history this season," 10 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The center is anchored by a Kroger Marketplace, Marshalls, Ross, Michaels and HomeGoods. Katherine Feser, Houston Chronicle, "Retail wrap: Chase Bank, Mod Pizza, Wasabi Bistro join lineup in new Conroe center," 13 July 2018 On defense, the Nittany Lions were anchored by eventual All-Pro defensive end Tamba Hali. Will Mccollister,, "On the Outside Looking In: The Best Teams to Finish No. 3 in the BCS Era," 11 July 2018 The plaza, which is anchored by Target, will also include the newest location of Zaxby’s, which should be complete soon. Austen Erblat,, "Construction started on Discount Tire in Greenacres," 6 July 2018 John Henson, Thon Maker and Tyler Zeller anchored the middle in 2017-'18 following the trade of big man Greg Monroe, and none of them offers the level of consistent offensive effectiveness Lopez has over the years. Matt Velazquez, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Brook Lopez brings brings a frontcourt presence and a reliable three-point shot," 8 July 2018 While diplomats say cooperation on day-to-day issues continues apace between U.S. and Mexican agencies, the bilateral relationship since has largely been anchored by Videgaray. Dudley Althaus, Washington Post, "Mexico’s leftist president-elect begins his outreach to the U.S. and Trump," 6 July 2018 Can Skura anchor the center spot or could Lewis be the answer there? Edward Lee,, "Ravens 2018 position-by-position breakdown: offensive line," 13 July 2018 Finebaum’s afternoon radio/television show every weekday has anchored the SEC Network’s programming lineup since it was launched in 2014. Dan Wolken, USA TODAY, "Paul Finebaum to sign new deal with ESPN, SEC Network," 12 July 2018 The stage and audience areas are sheltered between a pair of 300-foot monoliths, Ship Rock and Creation Rock, and another boulder anchored behind the stage bounces sound forward. Christopher Reynolds,, "Sitting in the palm of nature: The unique energy — and performances — of Colorado's Red Rocks Amphitheatre," 12 July 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


Middle English ancre, from Old English ancor, from Latin anchora, from Greek ankyra; akin to Old English anga hook — more at angle


see anchor entry 1

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Phrases Related to anchor

weigh anchor

Statistics for anchor

Last Updated

16 Sep 2018

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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