• synonyms


verb (used with object)
  1. to rub or sprinkle on; apply an unguent, ointment, or oily liquid to.
  2. to smear with any liquid.
  3. to consecrate or make sacred in a ceremony that includes the token applying of oil: He anointed the new high priest.
  4. to dedicate to the service of God.
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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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for anointment

Historical Examples

  • As the prayer ceased, came the symbolical rite of anointment.

    Harold, Complete

    Edward Bulwer-Lytton

  • The anointment of the body with oils was one of the characteristics of a Roman bath.

    History of Sanitation

    John Joseph Cosgrove

  • I think it a neglected art, degraded to the function of anointment.


    James Huneker

  • The ceremony of a royal coronation and anointment was not in those days regarded as a mere costly formality.

  • These difficulties thus removed, the anointment of Henry IV.

British Dictionary definitions for anointment


verb (tr)
  1. to smear or rub over with oil or an oily liquid
  2. to apply oil to as a sign of consecration or sanctification in a sacred rite
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Derived Formsanointer, nounanointment, noun

Word Origin

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 anointment



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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper