[ 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


unc·tion·less, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for unction

British Dictionary definitions for unction

/ (ˈʌŋkʃən) /


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 of unction

unctionless, adjective

Word Origin for unction

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

Medicine definitions for unction

[ ŭngkshən ]


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.