unc·​tion | \ ˈəŋ(k)-shən How to pronounce unction (audio) \

Definition of unction

1 : the act of anointing as a rite of consecration or healing
2 : something used for anointing : ointment, unguent
3a : religious or spiritual fervor or the expression of such fervor
b : exaggerated, assumed, or superficial earnestness of language or manner : unctuousness

First Known Use of unction

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for unction

Middle English unccioun, from Anglo-French, from Latin unction-, unctio, from unguere to anoint — more at ointment

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about unction

Statistics for unction

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for unction

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for unction


unc·​tion | \ ˈəŋ(k)-shən How to pronounce unction (audio) \

Medical Definition of unction

1 : the application of a soothing or lubricating oil or ointment
2 : something that is used for anointing : ointment

More from Merriam-Webster on unction

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with unction

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about unction

Comments on unction

What made you want to look up unction? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


showing great care, attention, and effort

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Finance Words Quiz

  • a-piggy-bank
  • The etymology of mortgage is related most closely to which two words?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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