an·​vil | \ ˈan-vəl How to pronounce anvil (audio) \

Definition of anvil

1 : a heavy usually steel-faced iron block on which metal is shaped (as by hand hammering)
2 : incus
3 : the anvil–shaped top of a cumulonimbus

Illustration of anvil

Illustration of anvil

anvil 1

Examples of anvil in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Getting a sense of the different angles on the anvil and how to use them to my advantage was surprisingly nuanced. Kevin Dupzyk, Popular Mechanics, "How I Learned To Build With Metal," 24 May 2019 For the past eight years, Intiman Theatre has been living with an anvil hanging over its head: millions of dollars in debt, which was discovered during a harrowing spring in 2011 and nearly imploded the theater. Brendan Kiley, The Seattle Times, "Intiman and ACT theaters finally debt-free after years of belt-tightening and generosity from others," 22 Jan. 2019 Meaning what? Meaning an anvil drops — Klonk! — on somebody’s unsuspecting noggin. Soren Andersen, The Seattle Times, "‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’: Pure fun flies by in ‘zip-zap-zop’ fashion," 10 Dec. 2018 Fifteen hundred sheets of regular printer paper may seem like a cinch in comparison to crushing a bowling ball or an anvil, but paper is deceptively hardy. Sophie Weiner, Popular Mechanics, "The Hydraulic Press is Nearly Defeated By 1,500 Sheets of Paper," 28 July 2017 This may be to a storm’s anvil being blown downwind, and carrying with it just enough charge to touch off a sporadic bolt. Matthew Cappucci, Washington Post, "Bolts from the blue: Here’s how lightning can strike when a storm is tens of miles away," 27 June 2018 Just a band dragging an anvil down the road for decades. Andrew Dansby, Houston Chronicle, "One more storm of blood from Slayer, on the metals band’s final tour," 13 June 2018 There are some teachers who cannot handle classroom management, who are bullies, and who lack the sensitivity of an anvil. Valerie Strauss, Washington Post, "No, the customer is not always right, especially in school," 18 May 2018 The Icelandic actor’s fight to the finish involved two days of strength tests, which included pulling a truck, races while hauling anvils and other heavy objects, and, of course, overhead deadlifts. Breanne L. Heldman,, "Game of Thrones Star Who Plays 'The Mountain' Wins World's Strongest Man Title," 7 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'anvil.' 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 anvil

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for anvil

Middle English anfilt, from Old English; akin to Old High German anafalz anvil; akin to Latin pellere to beat — more at felt

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Dictionary Entries near anvil





anvil bat

anvil block

anvil chisel

Statistics for anvil

Last Updated

1 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for anvil

The first known use of anvil was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for anvil



English Language Learners Definition of anvil

: a heavy iron block on which heated metal is shaped by hitting it with a hammer


an·​vil | \ ˈan-vəl How to pronounce anvil (audio) \

Kids Definition of anvil

: an iron block on which pieces of metal are hammered into shape


an·​vil | \ ˈan-vəl How to pronounce anvil (audio) \

Medical Definition of anvil

: incus

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More from Merriam-Webster on anvil

Spanish Central: Translation of anvil

Nglish: Translation of anvil for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of anvil for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about anvil

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