\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.

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Other Words from anoint

anointer noun
anointment \ -​mənt \ 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

Nothing against Ronaldo or Messi, but a fresh face as the world’s anointed best would not be a bad thing. Martin Rogers, USA TODAY, "After World Cup, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi may lose best player tags," 13 July 2018 Its bona fides include the Toronto Book Award, bestowed upon its original publication almost 40 years ago, and its reissue now, anointed a classic by its publisher. New York Times, "Her Lover May Not Exist, but Her Doubts About the Patriarchy Are Real," 6 July 2018 Society turns to warriors, diplomats, explorers, technologists, and even business titans, depending on where our greatest uncertainties lie and thus anoint its heroes depending on our needs and the leaders’ personas. Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, Fortune, "Why CEOs Make Great Politicians," 14 June 2018 Neighboring departments would help them wet or anoint the new vehicle. Amy Lavalley, Post-Tribune, "South Haven Fire introduces new ambulance, renovated fire station with a splash," 4 June 2018 Modernity had anointed a new hero, and invented, Locke thought, a New Negro. Tobi Haslett, The New Yorker, "The Man Who Led the Harlem Renaissance—and His Hidden Hungers," 11 May 2018 For two months the boards of CBS and Viacom, two entertainment companies controlled by the Redstone family, have explored a possible combination, something long wished for by Shari Redstone, the ailing media mogul’s daughter and anointed deputy. The Economist, "Viacom rejects a merger with CBS," 5 Apr. 2018 Fellow former Dodger Brandon Morrow also signed and was anointed the new closer, replacing Wade Davis, whom the Cubs chose not to reward for his solid effort in 2017. Paul Sullivan,, "Early optimism: A division-by-division look at all the National and American league teams," 26 Mar. 2018 Enter Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, another anointed son looking to make a name for himself after his father gave him considerable power. Dan Merica, CNN, "Saudi prince's White House visit continues Kushner courtship," 20 Mar. 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

10 Nov 2018

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 \
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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Comments on anoint

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playful or foolish behavior

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