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 Dozens of other vessels sat at anchor nearby and hundreds more at the canal’s entrances. The Economist, "The jam in the Suez canal highlights Egypt’s taste for mega-projects," 30 Mar. 2021 Utah has Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert as the shot-blocking anchor and lob threat. Chris Fedor, cleveland, "As Cavaliers learn more about Collin Sexton and Darius Garland, they see evidence from Jazz on how unconventional backcourt can thrive," 30 Mar. 2021 This pontoon-style boat features removable gear bags for storage (including 20 pockets and two drink holders), an anchor system, a rod holder that can be mounted in six different positions, and a motor mount. Jennifer Leman, Popular Mechanics, "How That Massive Ship Got Stuck in the Suez Canal—and Why Nobody Can Get It Out," 25 Mar. 2021 After all, his former co-anchor Kari Lake had been off the air for weeks and eventually left the station. Bill Goodykoontz, The Arizona Republic, "'Worse and worse': Fox 10 news anchor John Hook was off-air for 3 weeks. Here's why," 19 Mar. 2021 Former 20/20 co-anchor Elizabeth Vargas takes over as host from John Walsh of the long-running true crime show, which originally aired from 1988-2012, breaking down some of the country's toughest cases. Ew Staff,, "What to Watch on Monday: Matt James' Bachelor journey comes to an emotional close," 15 Mar. 2021 Michelle walks in dressed in Fox News co-anchor cosplay: tight blazer, tighter hair, and vacant eyes. Brian Moylan, Vulture, "The Real Housewives of New Jersey Recap: A Malignant Rumor," 10 Mar. 2021 That led to an assignment to co-anchor, with the veteran journalist Robert Trout, the network’s coverage of the Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City. New York Times, "Roger Mudd, Anchorman Who Stumped a Kennedy, Is Dead at 93," 9 Mar. 2021 McCoy is the Fox 5 co-anchor for four of their weekday shows. Naledi Ushe,, "D.C. Local Fox News Anchor Suspended for Tweeting He’s ‘Annoyed Obese People’ Are Given COVID Vaccine Priority," 25 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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 Hoyt will anchor weekday evenings and continue to lead the station’s investigation efforts, the station said. Brianna Kwasnik, Arkansas Online, "Rolly Hoyt joins THV11 evening anchor team," 18 Mar. 2021 But the biggest piece was Williams, who will anchor an offensive line that struggled at several of the other spots last season. Josh Dubow, Star Tribune, "49ers hand Trent Williams richest contract ever at OL," 17 Mar. 2021 Travis Jones and Lwal Ugak are the favorites to anchor the defensive line, and Jackson Mitchell and Ian Swenson have the experience to lead the linebacker corps. Shawn Mcfarland,, "UConn football’s starting quarterback role a wide-open competition," 17 Mar. 2021 But the biggest piece was Williams, who will anchor an offensive line that struggled at several of the other spots last season. Josh Dubow, ajc, "49ers hand Trent Williams richest contract ever at OL," 17 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

3 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

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