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 If Democrats anoint a candidate not vetted through the primary process, would Trump then be the candidate to save democracy? Sun Sentinel Editorial Board, Sun Sentinel, 15 July 2024 That story will be told in Milwaukee this week, but outside the Fiserv Forum where Trump will again be anointed the Republican nominee. David Maraniss, Washington Post, 15 July 2024 However, Democratic leadership anointing a candidate would likely do the same. Jeffrey Sonnenfeld and Stephen Henriques, TIME, 6 July 2024 The fiery dissents from the liberal justices, and the reaction from Democrats and the White House, paint the picture of a high court anointing the presidency as an office above the law in perpetuity. Cameron Joseph, The Christian Science Monitor, 1 July 2024 See all Example Sentences for anoint 

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 25 Jul. 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

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