\ ə-ˈnȯint \
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.

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from anoint

anointer noun
anointment \ -​mənt \ noun

Synonyms for anoint


bedaub, besmear, daub, smear

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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

Smith, an eighth-grade dropout who went to work at 15 to support his widowed mother, was deemed by most a coarse ward heeler beholden to the Tammany Hall satraps who anointed him. Edward Kosner, WSJ, "‘Frank and Al’ Review: A Friendship Forged in Albany," 25 Sep. 2018 The state committee members would gather in a Harlem church to officially anoint her — and to mark their independence from Mr. Cuomo’s political bullying. Vivian Wang, New York Times, "Nixon Tops Working Families Ticket, but Party Remains at ‘Crossroads’," 19 May 2018 The jerk fish is spiked with gingerbread spice, and the Cavan double-stack burger is anointed with a tangy Sazerac BBQ sauce. Paul Oswell, Condé Nast Traveler, "21 Best Restaurants in New Orleans," 28 Feb. 2018 This newly anointed Rosie soon came to be considered the platonic form. Margalit Fox, New York Times, "Naomi Parker Fraley, the Real Rosie the Riveter, Dies at 96," 22 Jan. 2018 Witch tip: Carve your name and zodiac sign into a pink candle using a tooth pink, anoint it with your favorite essential oil, and then burn the candle for as a self-love spell. Sophie Saint Thomas, Allure, "Color Magick: A Beginner's Guide to Harnessing the Power of Every Color," 25 Sep. 2018 Last summer, the franchise announced the hiring of Dr. Daniel Medina and anointed him its medical messiah. Marcus Hayes,, "Sixers top doctor Daniel Medina says his first year keeping Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons on the court was a success | Marcus Hayes," 9 July 2018 Soriano, meanwhile, became the anointed MAGA Fashion Designer, a title no one else wanted. Elizabeth Raiss,, "Who Is Andre Soriano, The Gay, Immigrant Designer Obsessed With Donald Trump?," 27 June 2018 Quady North Seeking a fresh opportunity, Herb Quady left his family’s successful California dessert wine business to found this Rogue Valley property and anointed himself President for Life in 2005. Tim Teichgraeber,, "Five vineyards you must see in Oregon’s lesser-known Rogue Valley region," 23 May 2018

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about anoint

Dictionary Entries near anoint





anointing of the sick



Statistics for anoint

Last Updated

6 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for anoint

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for anoint



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 \
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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on anoint

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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

Comments on anoint

What made you want to look up anoint? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to settle judicially or to act as judge

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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