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 Baldwin has been with CNN since 2008, first in Atlanta and then in New York since 2014, as an afternoon anchor for CNN Newsroom. Charu Sinha, Vulture, "Brooke Baldwin to Leave CNN in April," 17 Feb. 2021 In October, for her 10th year as anchor of her own show, Baldwin posted a message on Instagram celebrating the anniversary. Maria Puente, USA TODAY, "Brooke Baldwin says she's leaving CNN in April to focus on her new book: 'Yes, I'm feeling vulnerable'," 16 Feb. 2021 The big lineup change comes during the 3 p.m. hour with Martha MacCallum as the new anchor. Mike Brest, Washington Examiner, "Fox News announces handful of network lineup changes," 11 Jan. 2021 Venema began as an anchor at KSAT in 1969, doing the evening newscasts for many years. Elizabeth Zavala,, "After 47 years, courthouse news stalwart Paul Venema to sign off from San Antonio’s KSAT," 9 Jan. 2021 Karl-Anthony Towns had 22 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists as the anchor of the Wolves' attack while Malik Beasley led with 23 points. Chris Hine, Star Tribune, "Timberwolves trail much of game, rally to dump Pistons 111-101 in season opener," 23 Dec. 2020 Ibaka is the Clippers’ starting center moving forward, coach Tyronn Lue said, leaving Ivica Zubac as the defensive anchor for the second unit. Andrew Greif, Los Angeles Times, "Montrezl Harrell says playing against Clippers conjured ‘weird emotions’," 12 Dec. 2020 Shannon Bream currently serves as anchor of FOX News Channel's (FNC) FOX News @ Night with Shannon Bream (weekdays 11PM-12AM/ET). Shannon Bream, Fox News, "GOP lawmakers ask SCOTUS to block final certification of PA votes count," 4 Dec. 2020 Steele currently serves as the anchor for the 6 PM SportsCenter and as the lead host for SportsCenter on the Road. Akeem Glaspie, The Indianapolis Star, "Sage Steele, Jim Nantz to be honored by Indiana Sports Corp," 3 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Adding Andrelton Simmons to anchor the defense, while also nabbing J.A. Happ, Alex Colome and Matt Shoemaker should help that latter number. Michael Rand, Star Tribune, "Twins head into spring two pitchers short of true contention," 17 Feb. 2021 Polk and Morrison helped anchor a Gerstell defense that pitched its third shutout in as many games to start the season. Pat Stoetzer,, "Gerstell girls soccer ‘grateful’ to be getting chance to play this fall," 9 Nov. 2020 The Post’s Libby Casey will anchor live coverage of the trial and be joined by reporters Rhonda Colvin, Joyce Koh, Nicole Ellis, Hannah Jewell, Rosalind Helderman and James Hohmann. Anchorage Daily News, "Watch: The second impeachment trial of Donald Trump," 9 Feb. 2021 Linval Joseph, an incoming two-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle, and Justin Jones will anchor the middle, which has been a problem. Nick Canepa Columnist, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Don’t sleep on forgotten Chargers in 2020 NFL season," 6 Sep. 2020 The 24,144 square-foot supermarket will anchor the shopping center — owned by Sleiman Enterprises — off County Road 210 West in northern St. Johns County, which is classified as one of the fastest-growing counties in the nation. al, "Earth Fare reopening Florida grocery store, no plans for Alabama," 18 Jan. 2021 Additionally, Pamela Brown will anchor the network’s weekend evening coverage. Mike Brest, Washington Examiner, "Jim Acosta to move off White House beat as CNN announces lineup changes," 11 Jan. 2021 The political analyst and former resident fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics, will anchor MSNBC on Saturdays between 10 a.m. and noon, sharing the weekend hosting duties formerly held by Joy Reid’s AM Joy. Kimberly Wilson, Essence, "These Black Women Are Making Moves At Major News Networks," 8 Dec. 2020 The Washington Post’s Libby Casey will anchor prime time coverage on Election Day as voters cast their votes across the United States. Anchorage Daily News, "Watch live: National coverage of election night results and analysis," 4 Nov. 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 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Anchor.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
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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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