verb (used with object)

to rub or sprinkle on; apply an unguent, ointment, or oily liquid to.
to smear with any liquid.
to consecrate or make sacred in a ceremony that includes the token applying of oil: He anointed the new high priest.
to dedicate to the service of God.

Origin of anoint

1300–50; Middle English anoynten, derivative of anoynt, enoynt (past participle) < Old French enoint < Latin inūnctus anointed (past participle of inungere), equivalent to in- in-2 + ung- smear with oil + -tus past participle suffix
Related formsa·noint·er, nouna·noint·ment, nounre·a·noint, verb (used with object)re·a·noint·ment, nounself-an·oint·ed, adjectiveun·a·noint·ed, adjectivewell-a·noint·ed, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for anoint

bless, grease, sanctify, rub, smear, daub, consecrate, hallow, embrocate

Examples from the Web for anoint

Contemporary Examples of anoint

Historical Examples of anoint

  • Anoint me with the chrism of spontaneity that I may be ever worthy of thee.

    The Book of Khalid

    Ameen Rihani

  • Let us learn to anoint our friends beforehand for their burial.

    Dollars and Sense

    Col. Wm. C. Hunter

  • So be it, but I tell you that I will tear your city stone from stone, and anoint its ruins with your blood.


    H. Rider Haggard

  • To strengthen the hair: "Anoint it with the tooth of a donkey crushed in honey."

  • They anoint the corpse with warm water and balsam, and it comes to life.

British Dictionary definitions for anoint


verb (tr)

to smear or rub over with oil or an oily liquid
to apply oil to as a sign of consecration or sanctification in a sacred rite
Derived Formsanointer, nounanointment, noun

Word Origin for anoint

C14: from Old French enoint, from enoindre, from Latin inunguere, from in- ² + unguere to smear with oil
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 anoint

c.1300 (implied in anointing), from Old French enoint "smeared on," past participle of enoindre "smear on," from Latin inunguere "to anoint," from in- "on" + unguere "to smear" (see unguent). Originally in reference to grease or oil smeared on for medicinal purposes; its use in the Coverdale Bible in reference to Christ (cf. The Lord's Anointed, see chrism) has spiritualized the word. Related: Anointed; anointing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper