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

Synonyms for anoint


bedaub, besmear, daub, smear

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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

Although the justice system investigated and found no evidence against him, those charges resurfaced once Francis was anointed as pope. The New York Review of Books, "Ariel Dorfman," 17 Jan. 2019 Pelosi’s successor should probably be someone with experience in leadership, which means moving to anoint someone younger than Hoyer and Clyburn as heir apparent. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "House Democrats don’t need a leader, they need someone to represent them on TV," 20 Nov. 2018 The Lily Font, which has been used at the christenings of all royal family newborns since 1840, will be used to hold water from the River Jordan to anoint his royal head. Melissa Locker, Time, "Here's One Royal Tradition You Won't Be Following. Everyone’s Eating 7-Year-Old Cake at Prince Louis’s Christening," 9 July 2018 Almost no one had more pressure on him in the men’s event than Nathan Chen, anointed this season as a gold medal favorite and the Next Big Thing in American skating. Chris Schleicher, Time, "Let This Figure Skater Turned Comedy Writer Guide You Through the Olympics Men’s Skating Competition," 16 Feb. 2018 He was anointed a five-star recruit and rated the fifth-best player in the nation by 247Sports, sixth-best by ESPN. Jayda Evans, The Seattle Times, "‘He’s the future of basketball’: Federal Way’s Jaden McDaniels has become one of the best in nation," 20 Feb. 2019 Da Silva has portrayed himself as a political prisoner and has resisted pressure from some in the party to anoint a successor who can be on the ballot. Ernesto Londoño,, "Judge orders Brazil to release ex-president," 8 July 2018 But if this week’s talks progress, Mr. Liu himself is expected to follow up with a trip to Washington to meet with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, anointed by Mr. Trump as the lead negotiator with China. Lingling Wei, WSJ, "U.S. Pushes China to Follow Through on Trade Promises," 7 Jan. 2019 The film is a largely cinema verité study of a pressure cooker world flush with ultra-rich buyers, high-on-the-hog middlemen, and artists anointed with the Midas touch. Julia Felsenthal, Vogue, "The Price of Everything,," 18 Oct. 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.

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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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Dictionary Entries near anoint





anointing of the sick



Statistics for anoint

Last Updated

23 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for anoint

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

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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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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

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characterized by aphorism

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