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 Tommy has been the anchor for our defense for three years. Bob Narang,, "Cheaper by the dozen: Leyden extends streak of consecutive winning seasons to 12; Hersey’s Ronan Wilcox breaks a record," 18 Apr. 2021 Wallace was the defensive anchor for the 2004 championship team, and brought home four Defensive Player of the Year awards. Omari Sankofa Ii, Detroit Free Press, "Why Detroit Pistons' Isaiah Stewart is a mix of Ben Wallace and Rasheed Wallace," 17 Apr. 2021 Robertson said Teter, who ranks second in the America East in total digs (231) and fourth in digs per set (4.3), has been an anchor. Edward Lee,, "‘We’re an upset school’: UMBC volleyball seeking to pull off NCAA tournament shocker against Pepperdine," 13 Apr. 2021 Moore was an anchor for A&M’s offensive line for most of his career, helping its vast improvement in 2020 and is likely to hear his name called on Day 3 of the draft. Hannah Underwood, Dallas News, "Texas A&M mock draft roundup: See where Kellen Mond, Bobby Brown III are projected to be selected," 13 Apr. 2021 Germany has been an anchor for the U.S. military presence in Europe since the early post-World War II years. Robert Burns, Star Tribune, "Pentagon chief on inaugural tour of Europe to shore up ties," 12 Apr. 2021 His future is very bright and will be the anchor for the Southridge defensive line for years to come. oregonlive, "Meet some star high school football players the stat sheets often miss: Beyond the Box Scores, Weeks 3 and 4," 2 Apr. 2021 But what good is an anchor when you're involuntarily anchored already? Ezra Dyer, Car and Driver, "I Figured Out How to Free the Stuck Ship in the Suez Canal," 27 Mar. 2021 Team captain scored one goal in the regional quarterfinal this season and was anchor in the center for the Raiders; 3-year varsity member said highlight this season was beating Archbishop McCarthy. Gary Curreri,, "Broward 7A-6A girls soccer first team, second team, honorable mention, coach of the year," 27 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb To anchor a community, a product must divide daily, mundane life from an elevated, sacred experience. Jeremy Andrus, Forbes, "Should You Create A Brand Community Or Not?," 20 Apr. 2021 Sawchuk possesses all of the intangibles to anchor the backfield at Ohio State. Robert Fenbers, cleveland, "Four-star 2022 RB Gavin Sawchuk grounded and humble as he prepares for a slew of official visits: Buckeyes Recruiting Roundup," 19 Apr. 2021 Brianna Keilar will join John Berman on New Day during the week from 6 to 9 a.m. ET, while Ana Cabrera is getting moved from the weekend to anchor CNN Newsroom weekdays from 1 to 2 p.m. ET. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "The Full Reason Brooke Baldwin Decided to Leave CNN," 17 Feb. 2021 Reid, who became the first Black woman to anchor a prime time news show with the premiere of The ReidOut in July, cuts through the noise and offers her viewers factual news, informed opinions, and on occasion humor. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "Joy Reid on Dressing For Election Night on TV and 2020’s Unprecedented Vote," 6 Nov. 2020 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

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

27 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Anchor.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 May. 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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