noun, often attributive
an·​chor | \ ˈaŋ-kər How to pronounce anchor (audio) \
plural anchors

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 : a broadcaster (as on a news program) who introduces reports by other broadcasters and usually reads the news : an anchorman 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 anchor (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 anchor (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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Upgrading repeatedly can create an anchor that ties you to an outdated way of operating. Expert Panel®, Forbes, "14 Tech Leaders Share Their Best Tips For Upgrading Old Systems," 9 Apr. 2021 To think that another Marciano or Hagler might pop up again from there could be like standing today at Plymouth Rock, awaiting for the arrival of another Mayflower to drop anchor., "Brockton boxers still dream of being the next Marvin Hagler," 27 Mar. 2021 An anchor on Newsmax — a pro-Trump cable channel that received letters from Dominion and Smartmatic signaling imminent legal action — cut short an interview with Mr. Lindell after the MyPillow founder began attacking Dominion. New York Times, "Fox News Faces Second Defamation Suit Over Election Coverage," 26 Mar. 2021 Kate Cagle, an anchor and reporter with Spectrum News, also was detained in zip ties and later released. Kevin Rector, Los Angeles Times, "LAPD detains, then releases, Los Angeles Times reporter covering unrest in Echo Park," 25 Mar. 2021 My Ukrainian citizenship provided an anchor to my heritage that was otherwise ebbing entirely away. Mariya Manzhos, Washington Post, "I Had No Plans to Become an American. . .," 24 Mar. 2021 Astorino moved up the ranks of local sports broadcasting as a host and producer at WFAS radio and later became an anchor at the MSG Network. Kerry Picket, Washington Examiner, "Here are the Republicans considering running against Andrew Cuomo," 21 Mar. 2021 In this case, the rope is threaded through an anchor in the ceiling and tied to your harness. Jacqueline Detwiler-george, Popular Mechanics, "How to Get Started in Rock Climbing," 16 Mar. 2021 How about three cannons that may date to the American Revolution, an anchor and a likely piece of ship's timber? Phil Gast, CNN, "Crews were dredging the river. Instead of muck, they pulled up three cannons and a mystery," 14 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Lots of pop from the left side of the plate that will anchor our offense. oregonlive, "Oregon high school spring season preview: Highlighting standout baseball players," 13 Apr. 2021 Shea Nesbitt is similar to Umrani in that respect, helping anchor the back but just as valuable in a more offensive role if necessary. Brent Kennedy,, "Howard County boys soccer preparing for ever-changing landscape ahead of unprecedented fall season," 3 Mar. 2021 And while new closer Raisel Iglesias will anchor the bullpen, only three other relievers — Mike Mayers and new acquisitions Junior Guerra and Aaron Slegers — posted a sub-4.00 ERA last season. Jack Harris, Los Angeles Times, "Angels hope marginal adjustments will help pitchers ‘put people away’," 28 Feb. 2021 The first phase will also include a giant market hall, with stalls selling food and other items, and a farmers' market complex that will anchor the development's central core. Randy Tucker, The Enquirer, "Factory 52: New name for $100M mixed-use project at Norwood's former U.S. Playing Card site," 3 Dec. 2020 Having said that, Phillips does have issues trying to peak over blocks, which will raise his pad level and drain his ability to anchor and generate power at the point-of-attack. John Owning, Dallas News, "Film room: 3 draft prospects worth trading up for, including a pass rusher reminiscent of DeMarcus Lawrence," 31 Mar. 2021 The lower anchors and tethers for children (LATCH) system is an alternative way of fitting your car seat to anchor points in your car rather than using the seat belt to secure it. Lauren Corona,, "Car seat safety 101," 28 Mar. 2021 Sarah Jessica Parker paired a pair of purple sweatpants with a pink floral cardigan and let green shoes anchor her look. Alexis Bennett, Vogue, "5 Ways To Dress Up Your Sweatpants, Courtesy of Birthday Girl SJP," 25 Mar. 2021 Trufant was signed last year to anchor the Lions secondary, but played in just six games because of a recurring hamstring injury. Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Lions make it official: CB Desmond Trufant released," 18 Mar. 2021

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

15 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Anchor.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Apr. 2021.

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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 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 anchor (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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Comments on anchor

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