Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[uhngk-shuh n] /ˈʌŋk ʃən/
an act of anointing, especially as a medical treatment or religious rite.
an unguent or ointment; salve.
something soothing or comforting.
an excessive, affected, sometimes cloying earnestness or fervor in manner, especially in speaking.
  1. the oil used in religious rites, as in anointing the sick or dying.
  2. the shedding of a divine or spiritual influence upon a person.
  3. the influence shed.
  4. extreme unction.
the manifestation of spiritual or religious inspiration.
Origin of unction
1350-1400; Middle English unctioun < Latin ūnctiōn (stem of ūnctiō) anointing, besmearing, equivalent to ūnct(us) (past participle of ung(u)ere to smear, anoint) + -iōn- -ion
Related forms
unctionless, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for unction
Historical Examples
  • Mr Pancks answered, with an unction which there is no language to convey, 'We rather think so.'

    Little Dorrit Charles Dickens
  • Juve pronounced these words with unction, in a solemn voice.

    A Nest of Spies Pierre Souvestre
  • If she should be able, after receiving absolution and the unction, she—she may see you, monsignor.

    The Genius

    Margaret Horton Potter
  • The others found an unction in my words, and that they operated in them what I said.

    The Autobiography of Madame Guyon Jeanne Marie Bouvier de La Motte Guyon
  • "Well, you boys listen to this," and the postmaster read the item with unction.

  • With what unction the word "men" rolled from Rosalie's tongue.

    Peggy Stewart at School

    Gabrielle E. Jackson
  • For the third time he laughed to himself with depth and unction.

    The Eyes of the Woods

    Joseph A. Altsheler
  • No one else can do it with the feeling and unction natural to parents.

    Thoughts on Missions

    Sheldon Dibble
  • Even the Cameronians agreed that there was “unction” in the Doctor.

    The Dew of Their Youth S. R. Crockett
  • He adjured Pixie repeatedly, and with unction, to “Buck up!”

    The Love Affairs of Pixie Mrs George de Horne Vaizey
British Dictionary definitions for unction


(mainly RC Church, Eastern Churches) the act of anointing with oil in sacramental ceremonies, in the conferring of holy orders
excessive suavity or affected charm
an ointment or unguent
anything soothing or comforting
Derived Forms
unctionless, adjective
Word Origin
C14: from Latin unctiō an anointing, from ungere to anoint; see unguent
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for unction

late 14c., "act of anointing as a religious rite," from Latin unctionem (nominative unctio) "anointing," from unctus, past participle of ungere "to anoint" (see unguent).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
unction in Medicine

unction unc·tion (ŭngk'shən)
The action of applying or rubbing with an ointment or oil.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for unction

Word Value for unction

Scrabble Words With Friends