\ 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 anoint (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 After starting him at the beginning of the season, Kerr moved Wiseman to a bench role in late January, only to insert him back into the first unit two weeks ago and anoint him the permanent starter. Connor Letourneau, San Francisco Chronicle, "Why Warriors' Steve Kerr is facing the biggest challenge of his coaching career," 6 Apr. 2021 Rather than replicating the Emmys' outpouring of love for Schitt's Creek, the Globes will look to anoint a new queen of comedy. David Canfield,, "Golden Globes 2021 winner predictions: EW picks who should and who will win," 22 Feb. 2021 Fortunately, the letter was roundly denounced for suggesting that the military should anoint itself the final arbiter of a political question by calling for the chairman to exercise unconstitutional discretion. Mackubin Owens, Washington Examiner, "Stop dragging the military into election fights," 31 Dec. 2020 Legions of Roman Catholic priests donned personal protective equipment and ventured, at great personal risk, into hospital rooms to anoint the dying with oil. Michael Luo, The New Yorker, "An Advent Lament in the Pandemic," 20 Dec. 2020 No, nine games aren’t enough to anoint the Dolphins. Dave Hyde,, "Hyde: This next stretch is about the Dolphins more than their opponents | Commentary," 21 Nov. 2020 But Rams coach Sean McVay is not ready to publicly anoint rookie Cam Akers as the team’s featured running back. Gary Klein Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "Cam Akers runs to front of the Rams’ running back rotation," 11 Dec. 2020 Three games also don’t seem like much to anoint rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. Dave Hyde,, "Hyde: This next stretch is about the Dolphins more than their opponents | Commentary," 21 Nov. 2020 During a time when our stress levels are running at an all-time high, even wellness skeptics may be willing to anoint their pulse points with a head-clearing essential oil. Zoe Ruffner, Vogue, "The Best Essential Oils for Every Need, From Stress to Fatigue—And How to Use Them," 4 Nov. 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

14 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Anoint.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 May. 2021.

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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 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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