[ uhngk-shuhn ]
See synonyms for unction on Thesaurus.com
  1. an act of anointing, especially as a medical treatment or religious rite.

  2. an unguent or ointment; salve.

  1. something soothing or comforting.

  2. an excessive, affected, sometimes cloying earnestness or fervor in manner, especially in speaking.

  3. Religion.

    • the oil used in religious rites, as in anointing the sick or dying.

    • the shedding of a divine or spiritual influence upon a person.

    • the influence shed.

  4. 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

Other words from unction

  • unc·tion·less, adjective

Words Nearby unction

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How to use unction in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for unction


/ (ˈʌŋkʃən) /

  1. mainly RC Church Eastern Churches the act of anointing with oil in sacramental ceremonies, in the conferring of holy orders

  2. excessive suavity or affected charm

  1. an ointment or unguent

  2. anything soothing or comforting

Origin of unction

C14: from Latin unctiō an anointing, from ungere to anoint; see unguent

Derived forms of unction

  • unctionless, adjective

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