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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from anchor


anchorless \ ˈaŋ-​kər-​ləs How to pronounce anchor (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for anchor

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The ship, dragging its anchor in the wind and high seas, was headed directly for an oil tanker and didn’t have enough fuel to correct course. Drew Hinshaw, WSJ, "Trapped Aboard an Abandoned Cargo Ship: One Sailor’s Four-Year Ordeal," 30 Apr. 2021 So Aleman asked the man’s brother and another friend who was there to be his anchor. Lila Seidman, Los Angeles Times, "Mountain biker rescued hanging head-first off a cliff on Mt. Wilson in Angeles National Forest," 16 Apr. 2021 Other critics immediately blasted the pro-Cuomo network on Twitter for appearing to normalize its anchor's relationship with one of the nation's top Democrats. Fox News, "CNN panned for response to bombshell report Chris Cuomo benefited from brother's prioritized COVID tests," 25 Mar. 2021 Hearing her anchor the voices of her peers and successors throughout the project, while also consistently rising above them, is more of a treat than any tribute could be. Justin Curto, Vulture, "Three Generations of Country Queens Unite on Loretta Lynn’s ‘Still Woman Enough’," 23 Mar. 2021 Re-signing Carson gives the Seahawks their anchor in the rushing attack for the next two seasons. oregonlive, "Seattle Seahawks to re-sign Chris Carson: Report," 20 Mar. 2021 North Reading hopes to continue its recent dominance of the Kinney division and is led on offense by hard-running senior Will O’Leary and its anchor on the line, senior Zach Sampson., "The Eastern Mass. ‘Fall II’ high school football season starts Friday. Here’s a league-by-league preview," 10 Mar. 2021 Following a 2020 hiatus, the Orlando Boat Show returns this weekend to Orange County Convention Center, dropping its anchor and displaying new vessels for potential buyers March 5-7. Patrick Connolly,, "Orlando Boat Show returns this weekend with 500 boats," 5 Mar. 2021 But over the course of ten minutes—a significant segment in prime time—the conversation shifted from federal funding for Covid-19 response to more personal moments, including Governor Cuomo making fun of his anchor brother’s home haircut. Mark Joyella, Forbes, "Chris Cuomo: ‘Obviously I Cannot Cover It Because He Is My Brother’," 2 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Construction is already underway on two golf courses that will anchor the sprawling project. Steve Brown, Dallas News, "Omni PGA Frisco Resort tees up for construction start," 29 Apr. 2021 Powerful guard who could anchor an offensive line for years. Tim Bielik, cleveland, "NFL Draft 2021: The top 300 players, ranked," 28 Apr. 2021 In the fall, Jones Valley Teaching Farm will open its Center for Food Education, a multi-use building that will anchor all of the school garden’s campuses. Shauna Stuart |, al, "Here’s how to watch Alabama’s Jones Valley Teaching Farm in the nationwide virtual school garden tour," 27 Apr. 2021 In the end, NBC News' Gabe Gutierrez, stationed outside the courthouse, reported to anchor Lester Holt that a wave had rippled across the crowd after people repeated the verdict that had heard on their smartphones. David Bauder, ajc, "Through the media covering Chauvin case, a collective pause," 21 Apr. 2021 In the end, NBC News' Gabe Gutierrez, stationed outside the courthouse, reported to anchor Lester Holt that a wave had rippled across the crowd after people repeated the verdict that had heard on their smartphones. David Bauder, Star Tribune, "Through the media covering Chauvin case, a collective pause," 20 Apr. 2021 Drape the covering over the plants like an umbrella and anchor the edges down to capture heat from the soil and hold it around the plants, and to some extent, keep frost from settling on the foliage. Sarah Brookbank, The Enquirer, "A cold snap is coming: Here's how to protect your plants," 20 Apr. 2021 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

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

Time Traveler for anchor

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for anchor

Last Updated

9 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Anchor.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

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 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)

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Star Wars Words Quiz

  • cu jedi training
  • The bounty portion of bounty hunters (such as Boba Fett) comes from a Latin word meaning
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!