noun, often attributive
an·​chor | \ ˈaŋ-kər How to pronounce anchor (audio) \
plural anchors

Essential Meaning of anchor

1 : a heavy device that is attached to a boat or ship by a rope or chain and that is thrown into the water to hold the boat or ship in place The ship dropped anchor in a secluded harbor. Several yachts stood/sat/rode at anchor [=were held in place by an anchor] in the harbor. The crew weighed anchor [=lifted the anchor] and prepared to sail.
2 : a person or thing that provides strength and support a star quarterback who has been the anchor [=the most important part] of a football team's offense for many years He described his wife as the emotional anchor of his life. a local bank that has been the financial anchor of the community
3 : a large store that attracts customers and other businesses to an area (such as a shopping mall) an anchor store

Full Definition of anchor

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a device usually of metal attached to a ship or boat by a cable and cast overboard to hold it in a particular place by means of a fluke that digs into the bottom
2 : a reliable or principal support : mainstay a quarterback who has been the anchor of the team's offense
3 : something that serves to hold an object firmly a bolt-and-nut cable anchor
4 : an object shaped like a ship's anchor
5 : a broadcaster (as on a news program) who introduces reports by other broadcasters and usually reads the news : an anchorman or anchorwoman a TV news anchor
6 : the member of a team (such as a relay team) that competes last
7 : a large business (such as a department store) that attracts customers and other businesses to a shopping center or mall
8 mountaineering : a fixed object (such as a tree or a piton) to which a climber's rope is secured
at anchor
: being anchored a ship at anchor


anchored; anchoring\ ˈaŋ-​k(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce anchor (audio) \

Definition of anchor (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to hold in place in the water by an anchor anchor a ship
2 : to secure firmly : fix anchor a post in concrete
3 : to act or serve as an anchor for … it is she who is anchoring the rebuilding campaign …— Gray D. Boone anchoring the evening news

intransitive verb

1 : to cast anchor
2 : to become fixed

Illustration of anchor

Illustration of anchor


anchor 1: A yachtsman's: 1 ring, 2 stock, 3 shank, 4 bill, 5 fluke, 6 arm, 7 throat, 8 crown; B fluke; C grapnel; D plow; E mushroom

In the meaning defined above

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Other Words from anchor


anchorless \ ˈaŋ-​kər-​ləs How to pronounce anchor (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for anchor

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

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Examples of anchor in a Sentence

Noun The ship dropped anchor in a secluded harbor. He described his wife as the emotional anchor of his life. a local bank that has been the financial anchor of the community Verb They anchored the ship in the bay. The ship anchored in the bay. a star quarterback who has anchored the team's offense for many years
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun As Weekend Update anchor on Saturday Night Live, the former Roseanne writer gave many inappropriate laughs and precisely zero f‑‑‑s. Dan Snierson,, 15 Sep. 2021 Since its founding, UH has used its role as an anchor institution to build the community’s physical and economic health, CEO Dr. Cliff Megerian said in a statement. Julie Washington, cleveland, 15 Sep. 2021 Harbor Fest, the Harbor District's annual street festival, weighs anchor from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 19 in the 600 block of East Greenfield Avenue. Chris Foran, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 15 Sep. 2021 But after a stinging rebuke from CNN anchor Don Lemon, major entertainment companies sprung into action, promising big changes. Justin Ray, Los Angeles Times, 14 Sep. 2021 Today will be moderator, with questions from political analyst Robert Holsworth and Richmond CBS6 news anchor Candace Burns. Washington Post, 14 Sep. 2021 This year’s event, emceed by ABC 10News anchor Kimberly Hunt, will benefit dozens of San Diego nonprofits. Linda Mcintosh, San Diego Union-Tribune, 13 Sep. 2021 Keke Palmer—a Virgo!—has a tiny tattoo of an anchor on her ankle, a reminder to herself to always stay grounded. Elizabeth Logan, Glamour, 13 Sep. 2021 Sports director and anchor Tom Leyden was a casualty of financial cutbacks at Boston 25., 11 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The plan involved installing 52 concrete piles — or columns — that would anchor the building to bedrock, 250 feet below ground. Los Angeles Times, 31 Aug. 2021 Some Menorcans are concerned that the government isn’t doing enough – evidenced by the fact that boaters who anchor in the Posidonia are often not fined due to a lack of monitoring. Erika Page, The Christian Science Monitor, 27 Aug. 2021 Pounding drums anchor Lotic’s siren-like voice, with skittering, squeaking and searing sounds darting about like tiny, iridescent fish. Billboard Staff, Billboard, 20 Aug. 2021 It has been widely reported the 34-year-old Taylor is soon to be headed to NBC, possibly to help anchor coverage of the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo. Creg Stephenson |, al, 21 July 2021 Summer Knowles will co-anchor WESH 2 News at 4 p.m. with Stewart Moore as well as at 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. with Jim Payne. Kathleen Christiansen,, 13 May 2021 Pro Bowler Brandon Scherff will continue to anchor the offensive line while second-round pick Samuel Cosmi will get the chance to replace Morgan Moses, who joined the New York Jets this offseason, at right tackle. Emily Iannaconi, Forbes, 2 Sep. 2021 The Dutra brothers will lead their passing attack, while Smith, a first-team all-conference selection at center, looks to anchor a young offensive line. oregonlive, 26 Aug. 2021 Junior defensive lineman Cole Baird, who had a breakout year as a sophomore, also returns to anchor the defensive line. Adam Lichtenstein,, 25 Aug. 2021

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


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


13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for anchor

Noun and Verb

Middle English ancre, from Old English ancor, from Latin anchora, from Greek ankyra; akin to Old English anga hook — more at angle

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Time Traveler for anchor

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near anchor




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Statistics for anchor

Last Updated

18 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Anchor.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for anchor


an·​chor | \ ˈaŋ-kər How to pronounce anchor (audio) \

Kids Definition of anchor

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a heavy device attached to a ship by a cable or chain and used to hold the ship in place when thrown overboard
2 : someone or something that provides strength and support He is the family's anchor.


anchored; anchoring

Kids Definition of anchor (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to hold or become held in place with an anchor The riverboat was anchored at a sandy beach below tall bluffs.— Janet Shaw, Meet Kirsten, an American Girl
2 : to fasten tightly The cables are anchored to the bridge.


transitive verb
an·​chor | \ ˈaŋ-kər How to pronounce anchor (audio) \
anchored; anchoring\ -​k(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce anchor (audio) \

Medical Definition of anchor

: to relate psychologically to a point or frame of reference (as to a person, a situation, an object, or a conceptual scheme)

More from Merriam-Webster on anchor

Nglish: Translation of anchor for Spanish Speakers

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


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