\ ə-ˈnȯint How to pronounce anoint (audio) \
anointed; anointing; anoints

Definition of anoint

transitive verb

1 : to smear or rub with oil or an oily substance
2a : to apply oil to as part of a religious ceremony The priest anointed the sick.
b : to choose by or as if by divine election anoint him as his successor also : to designate as if by a ritual anointment Critics have anointed her as an important new literary figure.

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Other Words from anoint

anointer noun
anointment \ ə-​ˈnȯint-​mənt How to pronounce anointment (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for anoint


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Examples of anoint in a Sentence

The magazine anointed her the most popular actress of the year. anoint the wound with antiseptic to prevent infection
Recent Examples on the Web So think it’s a little quick to anoint it the best in Denver since 2015. Mark Kiszla, The Denver Post, "Lunch Special: Will the Broncos look for a replacement for Garett Bolles? How about Trent Williams?," 30 Mar. 2020 Many, and not only Never Trumpers, would be relieved if the president dropped out of the race and declined to anoint a successor. WSJ, "Here’s an Election Exit Ramp for Mr. Trump," 7 July 2020 His national security team knew the Chinese Communist Party was getting ready to anoint a new leader. Michael Crowley, New York Times, "‘Strategic Empathy’: How Biden’s Informal Diplomacy Shaped Foreign Relations," 6 July 2020 Neither man knew if anyone would be coming in for last-minute prayer books or anointing oil. John Carlisle, Detroit Free Press, "Some small Detroit businesses forced to close doors — and may never reopen," 24 Mar. 2020 There’s not a lot of breezing through the permanent collection, inhaling the unquestioned greatness of the anointed. Roberta Smith, New York Times, "MoMA’s Art Treasure, No Longer Buried," 17 Oct. 2019 Iowa often acts more as a bar bouncer than a kingmaker, culling the field but not anointing a leader. Jennifer Jacobs,, "A Bernie Sanders Win in Iowa Could Prolong the Democratic Primary Fight," 15 May 2020 He was soon proved correct, and the Supremes, led by Diana Ross, were anointed Motown’s newest superstars. Ben Sisario,, "Barney Ales, influential Motown executive," 1 May 2020 Using a dab of anointing oil on his gloved thumb, Nalty touched it to the woman’s forehead. USA Today, "Heartbreak, prayer and mourning: US leads world in coronavirus deaths after deadliest week," 15 Apr. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'anoint.' 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 anoint

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for anoint

Middle English, from Anglo-French enoint, past participle of enoindre, from Latin inunguere, from in- + unguere to smear — more at ointment

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Time Traveler for anoint

Time Traveler

The first known use of anoint was in the 14th century

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Statistics for anoint

Last Updated

11 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Anoint.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Aug. 2020.

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How to pronounce anoint (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of anoint

: to put oil on (someone) as part of a religious ceremony
: to officially or formally choose (someone) to do or to be something


\ ə-ˈnȯint How to pronounce anoint (audio) \
anointed; anointing

Kids Definition of anoint

1 : to rub or cover with oil or grease
2 : to put oil on as part of a religious ceremony

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More from Merriam-Webster on anoint

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for anoint

Spanish Central: Translation of anoint

Nglish: Translation of anoint for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of anoint for Arabic Speakers

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