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 \ -​ləs How to pronounce anchorless (audio) \ 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

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Spacey faces a felony indecent assault and battery charge stemming from a July 2016 encounter with former WCVB-TV news anchor Heather Unruh’s son at Nantucket’s Club Car bar. Matt Rocheleau,, "Nantucket judge orders Kevin Spacey accuser’s father to explain missing cellphone in sex assault case," 21 June 2019 Anqunette Sarfoh, a former television news anchor at Fox 2 News, started using marijuana when she was stricken with multiple sclerosis and has gone from having to take nine prescription medications a day to none. Kathleen Gray, Detroit Free Press, "Minorities find themselves almost shut out of Michigan's marijuana business," 21 June 2019 Republican lawmakers and Fox News anchors were outraged. Brian Stelter, CNN, "Wednesday is 100 days without an on-camera White House press briefing," 19 June 2019 In 2018, David Hogg said that he was rejected by several colleges, leading Fox News anchor Laura Ingraham to mock him on Twitter. Gina Martinez, Time, "Harvard Rescinds Acceptance of Pro-Gun Parkland Survivor Over Past Racist Comments," 17 June 2019 Perhaps reflecting sensitivities about the circumstances of Morsi’s death, the initial state television announcement was not read by a news anchor, but consisted only of an image of a brief statement. Laura King,, "Ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi's death stirs memories of onetime democracy hopes," 17 June 2019 So far, so good for Trump, but then came his Rose Garden sitdown with the ABC News anchor. John Cassidy, The New Yorker, "The Stephanopoulos Interview Is Another Fine Mess for Trump," 15 June 2019 In 2016, in an interview at HUD headquarters with Yahoo Global News anchor Katie Couric, HUD’s logo visible in the background, Castro delivered a glowing assessment of Hillary Clinton’s abilities. Bill Lambrecht,, "Julián Castro draws on HUD experience as 2020 candidates pitch affordable housing plans," 13 June 2019 Sealls' departure follows the exit of longtime anchor Mel Showers, who retired this spring after a 50-year career at the station. Lawrence Specker |,, "Alan Sealls out at WKRG, he announces via Facebook," 11 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Piano’s design is slender but strong, with a steel span that’s supported by thick columns that anchor into the ground at regular intervals. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Renzo Piano reveals design to replace collapsed Genoa bridge," 21 Dec. 2018 The only thing that anchors this look as a meaningful act of resistance is the accompanying statement. Rebecca Jennings, Vox, "Lady Gaga pegged her powerful Women in Hollywood speech to her suit. She didn’t need to.," 17 Oct. 2018 Located at the end of East Oakland Park Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale at 3100 N. Ocean Blvd., L’Hermitage is a twin-tower complex that anchors the southern end of the city’s venerable Galt Ocean Mile. David Lyons,, "Sharon Day, U.S. envoy to Costa Rica, lists L'Hermitage penthouse in Fort Lauderdale for $5.225 million," 28 June 2018 The performance is the real, the real present-tense moment that anchors the film. Mark Olsen,, "From oysters to hula hoops, the fantastic worlds of 'Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami'," 23 Apr. 2018 The mounting is a modern style, with the entirety of the animal's muscular neck appearing to force its way out of the polished wooden shield that anchors the display to the wall. Blake Bacho, Detroit Free Press, "Deer mount returned to Michigan family after nearly 4 decades," 1 Apr. 2018 Inside, there’s cuisine for every appetite, anchored by Clare’s Kitchen, a fried chicken stall. Phillip Valys,, "Warehouse District: How West Palm Beach’s newest nightlife village found suds, spirits and ‘soul’," 6 June 2019 The parking lot of 12100 Coffee and Communitas is newly home to a food-truck collective anchored by Glacier Bowl. Anchorage Daily News, "Add these new(ish) Anchorage food trucks to your rotation this summer," 6 June 2019 The Pride’s defense anchored by goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris did enough to maintain a clean sheet. Iliana Limón Romero, Pro Soccer USA, "Alanna Kennedy golazo helps lift Orlando Pride to 1-0 win over Washington Spirit," 24 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.

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

Statistics for anchor

Last Updated

24 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for anchor

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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 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

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).


to take the place or position of

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

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!