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

anchorperson, newscaster, newsreader [chiefly British]

Synonyms: Verb

catch, clamp, fasten, fix, hitch, moor, secure, set

Antonyms: Verb

loose, loosen, unfasten, unfix, unloose, unloosen

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The Cuomo shirts were on sale a day after the anchor threatened to shove someone down a flight of stairs for calling him Fredo, the weak brother in the Godfather films. The Economist, "What Donald Trump’s campaign swag says about his presidency," 31 Aug. 2019 While some of the news hours have a rightward bent, the anchors generally don't display the pro-Trump sycophancy that's a signature feature of Fox's opinion programs. Brian Stelter, CNN, "Trump thinks Fox News isn't doing enough to promote his presidency," 28 Aug. 2019 From the twin anchors — both are seniors — the rest of Utah’s defense flows. Jon Wilner, The Mercury News, "Utah preview: Punishing lines, veteran playmakers lead Utes to another South title," 26 Aug. 2019 From the twin anchors — both are seniors — the rest of Utah’s defense flows. Jon Wilner, The Denver Post, "Pac-12 football previews: Punishing lines, veteran playmakers lead Utah to another South title," 26 Aug. 2019 The beloved co-anchor has been out since mid-April on maternity leave. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "'Today' Show Star Hoda Kotb Shares Rare Instagram Photo of Baby Hope Catherine," 24 Aug. 2019 Only a handful of other boats had dropped anchor, with no intent of negotiating a drawbridge or channel before at least July 5. Alison Kuznitz,, "Anchored on the Charles, awaiting the big show," 3 July 2019 Back in the water off Fort Bragg, Fonts motors his boat a few hundred yards away and drops a small anchor. Nick Rahaim,, "Without abalone, spearfishing hooks North Coast anglers," 17 June 2019 In a 1987 voyage to the Antarctic, the paleoceanographer James Kennett and his crew dropped anchor in the Weddell Sea, drilled into the seabed, and extracted a vertical cylinder of sediment. Natalie Wolchover, WIRED, "As the World Warms, Clouds Could Disappear—Catastrophically," 3 Mar. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Bobrovski was signed to a seven-year, $70 million contract to anchor the Panthers in net. Wells Dusenbury,, "‘I’ve never felt a buzz like this’ — Ticket sales, hype building up as Florida Panthers begin training camp," 12 Sep. 2019 The early- and long-term edge could go to the Steelers, who will count on Bush to anchor their 3-4 front. Ryan O’halloran, The Denver Post, "AFC Preview: Patriots still have Tom Brady, but conference could go through Chiefs or Chargers," 5 Sep. 2019 Look for ways to highlight their passions, find the perfect bed to anchor the room, then create a space that’s as unique as your kids are. David Syrek,, "How to create the coolest kids room ever," 30 Aug. 2019 Hurricane protocol for The Wheel at ICON Park, the observation wheel that towers over the city’s tourism district, calls for four large cables to anchor the structure to the ground. Marco Santana,, "Hurricane Dorian: How crews will stop 400-foot-tall The Wheel from rolling away," 29 Aug. 2019 Senior linebackers Nathan Pacheco and Gannon Griffin return to anchor a strong group. Matt Szabo, Daily Pilot, "High School Football Preview: Estancia will hit the road in 2019," 28 Aug. 2019 Kristen Stewart, who hosted in 2017, returns to anchor the Nov. 2 episode. Dan Snierson,, "Saturday Night Live releases star-studded season 45 lineup," 26 Aug. 2019 The defense seeks improvement after ranking 11th in the Big Sky, but Navarro and Shotwell return to anchor a more-experienced unit. Craig Haley,, "Big Sky football preview 2019: Top-heavy conference should make for crowded title race," 21 Aug. 2019 Ukraine’s parliamentary election delivered the only absolute majority in its post-communist history for Volodymyr Zelensky, a former comedian promising to tackle corruption and to anchor the country to the West. The Economist, "The eastern summer," 8 Aug. 2019

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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Statistics for anchor

Last Updated

17 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for anchor

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

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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 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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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).


authorized for issue (as a bond)

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