anointed; anointing; anoints

transitive verb

: to smear or rub with oil or an oily substance
: to apply oil to as part of a religious ceremony
The priest anointed the sick.
: 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.
anointer noun
anointment noun

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 Soon, the single landed in KROQ DJ Jed the Fish’s hands and quickly was anointed his Catch of the Day. Daniel Kohn, Los Angeles Times, 8 Apr. 2024 Subsequently, Sondheim often anointed or approved the actors playing Mrs. Lovett. Thomas Floyd, Washington Post, 6 Apr. 2024 But before we get started, think of the falsely anointed, all the future Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterbacks in this NFL Draft — despite being the untried and untested, football players being judged and overanalyzed when not actually playing football. Nick Canepa, San Diego Union-Tribune, 6 Apr. 2024 As well as Endrick, already anointed as the finest player of soccer’s new generation, Real Madrid is expected (at last) to sign Kylian Mbappé, the standout of the current one. Rory Smith, New York Times, 5 Apr. 2024 While Spotify anointed his debut as one of the most influential projects of the modern era, Tiller’s journey goes beyond those 14 songs — which is why his fourth album, Bryson Tiller, arriving this Friday (Apr. 5), looks to set the tone and start a new chapter in his career. Carl Lamarre, Billboard, 4 Apr. 2024 In 1998, Moon anointed Preston, today his oldest surviving son and a former Olympic equestrian, vice-president of FFWPUI. TIME, 4 Apr. 2024 He’s also already anointed Hubbard as his current starter in the backfield. Mike Kaye, Charlotte Observer, 25 Mar. 2024 They would then be anointed with oil and may have exercised immediately afterward in a court area. Jack Knudson, Discover Magazine, 26 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'anoint.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near anoint

Cite this Entry

“Anoint.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


: to rub over with oil or an oily substance
: to put oil on as part of a religious ceremony
anointer noun
anointment noun

More from Merriam-Webster on anoint

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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