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

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Other Words from anchor


anchorless \ ˈaŋ-​kər-​ləs How to pronounce anchorless (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 As part of wider reforms to create a fairer, sounder global economy, basic income should become the anchor for a new income-distribution system. The Economist, "The world after covid-19 Guy Standing on how lockdowns make the case for a basic income," 20 May 2020 The anchor of Ohio City will open its patio at 3:30 p.m. Guarino’s Restaurant Open noon to 10 p.m. Monday to Saturday and noon to 8 p.m. Sunday. Marc Bona, cleveland, "50-plus Northeast Ohio restaurants opening today for patio-outdoor dining," 15 May 2020 Lack made Lester Holt the anchor of the program and moved Williams to MSNBC. NBC News, "NBC News Chairman Andy Lack to step down," 4 May 2020 Though no part of the bud extends down and out of the ear (as is the case with AirPods), the Pixel Bud anchor appears externally to physically take up more space in the ear while being worn. Anabel Pasarow,, "Here’s How Google’s New Pixel Buds Compare To AirPods," 27 Apr. 2020 And that will change next week, the anchors will be in a rotation. Jenna Schnuer, Fortune, "The Coronavirus Economy: What it’s like running a local news station during a pandemic," 15 Apr. 2020 Avoid this by drilling the anchors for shelves into wall studs, which are much stronger than drywall and less likely to give way. Jessica Dailey, House Beautiful, "How to Make Your Kitchen's Open Shelving “Click”," 2 Apr. 2020 Morgan shared the video on Twitter replying to a tweet from the GMA anchor. Sierra Newton,, "Coronavirus: Kindness, levity - musical nod to Reds Opening Day, silly softball videos," 31 Mar. 2020 The anchor people are usually in the studio, dressed to the nines. Carl Nolte,, "Life was moving so fast, too fast maybe. Now, look at us," 28 Mar. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The talk show-style podcast is anchored by comedian Joe Rogan, whom some consider controversial for peddling conspiracy theories with guests like Alex Jones. Kerry Flynn, CNN, "Spotify makes Joe Rogan's podcast an exclusive as the platform expands beyond music," 19 May 2020 The estate, named Rancho Chilamate for a chilamate tree growing on the grounds, is anchored by a 3,800-square-foot, four-bedroom main house. Roxana Popescu, New York Times, "House Hunting in Nicaragua: A Solar-Powered Ranch for $650,000," 13 May 2020 The lineup is anchored by -- appropriately enough for these times -- The Masked Singer. James Hibberd,, "Fox reveals a pandemic-proof 2020 fall TV schedule," 11 May 2020 Listed for: $475,000 Features: Turnkey home; separate staff accommodations; tropical fish; backup generator Tise quarter-acre island in Adirondack Park, N.Y., is anchored by a five-bedroom home of 1,200 square feet. Jack Flemming, Los Angeles Times, "Need to escape? These islands cost less than many L.A. homes," 28 Apr. 2020 As a quantitative futurist, my job is to investigate the future, and that process is anchored in confronting uncertainties both internal and external to an organization. Amy Webb, Fortune, "How event planners can avoid coronavirus conflicts this fall," 9 Apr. 2020 The Grand Princess cruise ship that docked in Oakland on March 9 with 3,500 passengers, including 21 people known to be infected with coronavirus, is anchored in the bay but likely headed to San Francisco. Phil Matier,, "Viral cruise ship being cleaned and readied for next stop — likely San Francisco," 18 Mar. 2020 Along with those works by Rist and Da Corte, the show is anchored by two other large-scale pieces, both of which take a more grave, serious tone. Benjamin Lima, Dallas News, "Enjoy the Dallas Museum of Art’s exploration of home from the comfort of yours," 29 Apr. 2020 The narrative is anchored in the omnipresence of the internet, but what happens offline is South’s true focus. Jenessa Abrams, The Atlantic, "Mary South’s Lonely World of Tech-Abetted Humans," 21 Apr. 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

26 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Anchor.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2020.

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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)

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