verb (used with object)

verb (used without object)


    at anchor, held in place by an anchor: The luxury liner is at anchor in the harbor.
    drag anchor, (of a vessel) to move with a current or wind because an anchor has failed to hold.
    drop anchor, to anchor a vessel: They dropped anchor in a bay to escape the storm.
    weigh anchor, to raise the anchor: We will weigh anchor at dawn.

Origin of anchor

before 900; Middle English anker, ancre, Old English ancor, ancer, ancra (compare Old Frisian, Middle Dutch, Middle Low German anker) < Latin anc(h)ora < Greek ánkȳra
Related formsan·chor·a·ble, adjectivean·chor·less, adjectivean·chor·like, adjectivere·an·chor, verbun·an·chored, adjectivewell-an·chored, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for anchors

Contemporary Examples of anchors

Historical Examples of anchors

  • Stand fast with the anchors in the waist, and be ready for a cast.

    The White Company

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • When we got back to the schooner, we found her lifting her anchors.

    Ned Myers

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • We had three anchors ahead, if not four, the ship labouring a good deal.

    Ned Myers

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • The cable, which had been broken by the anchors of coral fishers, was grapnelled with difficulty.

  • I'll fetch the anchors and we'll moor her wherever she happens to be.

    The Depot Master

    Joseph C. Lincoln

British Dictionary definitions for anchors


pl n

slang the brakes of a motor vehiclehe rammed on the anchors



any of several devices, usually of steel, attached to a vessel by a cable and dropped overboard so as to grip the bottom and restrict the vessel's movement
an object used to hold something else firmly in placethe rock provided an anchor for the rope
a source of stability or securityreligion was his anchor
  1. a metal cramp, bolt, or similar fitting, esp one used to make a connection to masonry
  2. (as modifier)anchor bolt; anchor plate
  1. the rear person in a tug-of-war team
  2. short for anchorman, anchorwoman
at anchor (of a vessel) anchored
cast anchor, come to anchor or drop anchor to anchor a vessel
drag anchor See drag (def. 13)
ride at anchor to be anchored
weigh anchor to raise a vessel's anchor or (of a vessel) to have its anchor raised in preparation for departure


to use an anchor to hold (a vessel) in one place
to fasten or be fastened securely; fix or become fixed firmly
(tr) radio television to act as an anchorman on
See also anchors

Word Origin for anchor

Old English ancor, from Latin ancora, from Greek ankura; related to Greek ankos bend; compare Latin uncus bent, hooked
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

Word Origin and History for anchors



Old English ancor, borrowed 9c. from Latin ancora "anchor," from or cognate with Greek ankyra "anchor, hook" (see ankle). A very early borrowing and said to be the only Latin nautical term used in the Germanic languages. The -ch- form emerged late 16c., a pedantic imitation of a corrupt spelling of the Latin word. The figurative sense of "that which gives stability or security" is from late 14c. Meaning "host or presenter of a TV or radio program" is from 1965, short for anchorman.



c.1200, from anchor (n.). Related: Anchored; anchoring.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper