Definition of anchor in English:



  • 1A heavy object attached to a cable or chain and used to moor a ship to the sea bottom, typically having a metal shank with a pair of curved, barbed flukes at one end.

    ‘the boat, no longer held fast by its anchor, swung wildly’
    [as modifier] ‘an anchor chain’
    • ‘Neither anchor nor chain are any longer there, but it is full of anemones, and wrasse seem to have fun chasing each other up and down it.’
    • ‘The other objects include a large ship's anchor and an eight-foot slab of concrete, both with paint scrapings.’
    • ‘They rigged two mooring legs on the ship's fantail, consisting of anchors, chain and heavy cable attached to two buoys.’
    • ‘There are no signs of anchors, chain or anchor winch.’
    • ‘Navy spokesman Igor Dygalo said last night that a new attempt is being made to try to pull up the boat, together with antenna, cable and two heavy anchors holding it.’
    • ‘The Rainbow Warrior had been blockading the military port until police boarded the ship on Saturday night and cut her anchor chain forcing the ship into dock.’
    • ‘The marina helps them set two anchors with chain, plus two extra-long anchor lines.’
    • ‘Her anchor chains are on trailers at dockside and her huge oil transfer hoses are nowhere to be seen.’
    • ‘At the bow a pair of traditionally shaped anchors rest inside the ship where the deck has collapsed, the anchor winch having fallen sideways and almost standing on one end.’
    • ‘A ship had thrown its anchor down near desolate shores, constantly ravaged and pummeled by persistent waves.’
    • ‘Forward of the boilers there is little but scraps of metal, except for the anchor winch, chains and anchors.’
    • ‘In addition to knitting, Johnson and a group of three women and one brave man meet several times a week in an empty space near the forecastle, the area of the ship where the anchor chains are stowed.’
    • ‘He climbed up the anchor chain of a Greek ship, pried open the hatch and lay for three days under a lifeboat, coming out into the light as the ship was passing through the Suez Canal.’
    • ‘New equipment including GPS and an electronic navigation chart system was put to work and the anchor and cable were nominally relocated.’
    • ‘Anchors and anchor chains cause serious damage to reef corals and will uproot sea grasses.’
    • ‘It has a wide range of marine plant available for hire and sale which includes tugs, pontoons, workboats, anchors, chain etc.’
    • ‘And by their clinging to the anchor of a sinking ship for security, they drown in their own folly.’
    • ‘Also in the bay is the anchor and chain from the Rhone, only discovered encrusted in coral a few years previously.’
    • ‘They ranged from the production of brass and other non-ferrous metals to screws, nuts, bolts, chains and anchors, pins, and jewellery.’
    • ‘The weekend had a few moments of fun, but most of the time I felt like a drifting ship waiting for the anchor to hit bottom or snag on something solid.’
    1. 1.1A person or thing that provides stability or confidence in an otherwise uncertain situation.
      ‘the European Community is the economic anchor of the New Europe’
      • ‘The three vessels had been prepared to survive Hurricane Ivan by securing them to fixed anchors located in the bay.’
      • ‘Once the frame is assembled and is set up in the desired spot, special tie-down anchors secure the frame to the dirt or lawn.’
      • ‘We have declared that we see the Currency Board as a very important anchor of stability for the country's financial and economic system.’
      • ‘I think he's not your typical anchor, in that he shows up in situations that other anchors don't.’
      • ‘He said this would help inform a consistent and coherent regional framework that could provide a further anchor for the initiatives that must be pursued.’
      • ‘The metronome set to the macro beat will provide a rhythmic anchor for the student.’
      • ‘His theses drawn from cultural and analytic vertices, provide anchors for the incomprehensible.’
      • ‘Nonetheless, the basic line from which the image evolved - and around which all its complexities revolve - provides a clarifying anchor.’
      • ‘Authors are separated to encourage browsing, or placed together to provide a stable anchor.’
      • ‘Afghanistan's ancient roots and strong ties of kinship provide an anchor against progress, but also the means to cope when central authority has collapsed.’
      • ‘That analysis provided an anchor for negotiations.’
      • ‘Because it could provide an anchor for part of downtown - the old town of York, no less - that really needs some help getting going again.’
      • ‘The Big Three anchors did provide a sense of rock-steady comfort.’
      • ‘‘I hope to be an anchor to bring the stability to look at the economic and political coverage of the paper,’ he said.’
      • ‘The post office is the anchor and provides the foot flow.’
      • ‘The total effect was surprisingly focused and intimate, with Gabriel's confessional singing style providing an emotional anchor for the ever-shifting visuals.’
      • ‘Obviously, Walker's idea needs an anchor at both ends, and today, for the first time in decades, both those anchors seem secure.’
      • ‘The sonic trickery can get a little wearing, but there's always a heart-melting tune or a catchy chorus to provide an emotional anchor.’
      • ‘In the midst of all these changes and uncertainties, the key role of leadership is to provide an anchor that can offer some degree of stability.’
      • ‘The end of it that was still in front of Ivan wrapped around his right arm once again, and the lance started to pull him towards Zas, using the ground as an anchor.’
      mainstay, cornerstone, bulwark, chief support, main source of security, main source of stability, foundation, prop, linchpin
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2A large and prestigious department store prominently sited in a new shopping centre.
      • ‘Competition for anchor stores in shopping centres remains robust with Dunnes, Superquinn, Marks and Spencers and Tesco all hoping to expand their presence.’
      • ‘A new town centre is promised for Southill, with the giant retail discount store Aldi as anchor tenant.’
      • ‘Poon said that because the company is usually the anchor tenant at large shopping malls, rents are slightly lower than those charged for smaller retail companies.’
      • ‘In addition to the three anchor tenants, the site will also contain 50 retail units, multi-storey and underground parking and a six-screen cineplex.’
      • ‘Then recession hit and by the 90s the site was owned by Marks & Spencer and Sainsbury's who chose CSC as a development partner and later became anchor tenants.’
      • ‘Developers Chartback are holding advanced talks with an unnamed retailer specialising in non-food household goods to secure a main anchor for the Rawson Quarter project.’
      • ‘In 1992, MBI landed a large mall project with multiple anchor tenants.’
      • ‘The ‘power center’ retail area and anchor stores would go up in the middle and eastern part of the site.’
      • ‘The 65,000 sq ft Harvey Nichols store is the anchor tenant for the new fashion street The Walk, off Saint Andrew Square, which will have a total of 27 outlets.’
      • ‘Dunnes Stores will operate a supermarket and department store at the Scotch Hall complex, which will have 60 other shops and two further anchor tenants.’
      • ‘We reported in February that sources said the anchor department store could be one of several Kohl's Corp. stores that would open in the area.’
      • ‘‘We are delighted to sign up Wilkinson as our anchor tenant for this prestigious development for Bradford,’ he said.’
      • ‘An unnamed supermarket will be the anchor tenant of the shopping complex, which is set to transform the commercial life of the town as its population expands.’
      • ‘The closure will leave about 100 people without jobs and it will threaten the future of the entire shopping mall as the Friendly Grocer is the current anchor tenant.’
      • ‘I don't think we'll be seeing pride boutiques opening as anchor stores at any of the major malls quite yet.’
      • ‘The centre piece and anchor store in Centrale, House of Fraser's arrival brings six years of planning and construction to fruition, and promises to bring shoppers flocking back to Croydon.’
      • ‘With Standard Life Assurance Company the main investment partner, the centre boasts more than 90 shops, including the anchor tenants.’
      • ‘It will see a 350,000 sq ft extension to the existing Frenchgate shopping centre, which is to have as its anchor retailer a new Debenham's department store.’
      • ‘Although permission was granted last year for that development, work has yet to begin on the 14-acres site even though anchor tenant Woodies has already signed up.’
      • ‘All major re-developments in the municipality, such as Majors Bay Rd and Five Dock have a supermarket chain as the anchor.’
      centre, focal point, central point, centre of attention, hub, pivot, nucleus, heart, cornerstone, linchpin, kingpin, bedrock, basis, backbone, cynosure
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3British informal The brakes of a car.
      ‘this idiot in front slammed on his anchors at a crossing’
      • ‘I had to stand on the anchors on a few occasions to avoid wiping a sizable chunk off the £99,300 car's front end.’
      • ‘Hard on the anchors into the esses - a quick and tight left/right/right - make sure you brake in a straight line or the back wheels will be overtaking the bonnet.’
      • ‘Drivers speed up between cameras and then slam the anchors on as they approach another camera.’
      • ‘It's not that the Jag's braking is poor because by any normal standards the XKR has an impressive set of anchors - it's just that the Aston's is exceptionally good.’
      • ‘Let's face it, with this much power it helps to have sturdy anchors in any case and everything in the Superformance is built with rugged durability and simple effectiveness in mind.’
  • 2North American An anchorman or anchorwoman.

    ‘he signed off after nineteen years as CBS news anchor’
    • ‘Gavin Esler has been a news anchor on BBC News 24 since 1997.’
    • ‘Producers, anchors, reporters and the management staff started by reviewing the ratings from the night before.’
    • ‘Retailers will learn from two instructors with years of experience as reporters and news anchors on network television.’
    • ‘Behind a glass wall at one end is the smallest of Al Jazeera's three broadcast studios, where anchors read five-minute newscasts every hour.’
    • ‘Our anchors and reporters regularly speak to community organizations.’
    • ‘News anchors of color gave viewers the impression of diversity while more influential roles were retained by a less heterogeneous group.’
    • ‘And we asked whether the broadcast network news anchors are, well, dinosaurs.’
    • ‘Stations can put the e-mail address of reporters, anchors, and producers on air to encourage a dialogue.’
    • ‘News anchors and reporters couldn't make enough references to the trials and tribulations that they faced throughout the day.’
    • ‘‘The best thing you can do is visit radio stations in your area,’ said King, a national anchor and reporter.’
    • ‘Dowsett is a television news reporter / anchor for KTVL, the CBS station in Medford, Oregon.’
    • ‘Let's begin by looking at a recent discussion on these issues I had last week with veteran CBS news anchor Walter Cronkite.’
    • ‘Are bloggers becoming a thriving alternative to the mainstream media or just a collection of carping critics who live to slam the news outlets, anchors and reporters they don't like?’
    • ‘You can't have a situation where your anchor is not fully able to do any story on any subject especially on the president of the United States.’
    • ‘Shortly after receiving her bachelor's degree in 1979, Chandler worked as a television news anchor, reporter, and talk show host.’
    • ‘Let's check in with Rob Marciano in Bay Town, Texas, our CNN weatherman and news anchor as well.’
    • ‘He most recently worked as one of the main anchor presenters of ITN News Direct, in London.’
    • ‘Even network news anchors or reporters, although they may introduce commercial messages, rarely actually deliver them.’
    • ‘But viewers could only feel fractured and scared as the anchors and reporters scrambled to keep up with the vivid images.’
    • ‘Do the network news anchors of the big broadcast networks have to be Olympian figures?’
    presenter, announcer, anchorman, anchorwoman, newsreader, newscaster, broadcaster, reporter
    View synonyms


  • 1Moor (a ship) to the sea bottom with an anchor.

    ‘the ship was anchored in the lee of the island’
    [no object, with adverbial of place] ‘we anchored in the harbour’
    • ‘The ship is currently anchored outside Colombo Harbour.’
    • ‘At first, as on one of my earlier visits, I leafed through the log of the Southwold, a patrol ship that was anchored off the pier from autumn of 1914.’
    • ‘Luxury yachts are docked in the harbour, and giant cruise ships are anchored swimming distance from the beach.’
    • ‘WO Osborne said the area is still thought to contain the remnants of a protective minefield and ships are forbidden from anchoring in the bay.’
    • ‘The lifeboat crew helped to anchor the vessel so it would withstand the battering of the waves until it was ready to be refloated, and transferred the passengers and crew to safety.’
    • ‘One needs to find a space to anchor the ship before applying for a license.’
    • ‘At some point construction on the inside of the marina will begin and anchored yachts will be chased back outside.’
    • ‘Initially, only one other vessel responded, so Duncan cheekily anchored the two ships in full view of the Dutch fleet, ordering his officers to signal regularly to the imaginary remainder of his warships.’
    • ‘We shall put her in the side of a cove, and anchor our ships behind her.’
    • ‘Schoolchildren from Whitby Music Centre played as the crew anchored the ship and ropes were thrown on shore to secure HM Bark Endeavour in its berth for the next two months.’
    • ‘A ship is anchored and ready to set sail for England on my command.’
    • ‘The history of Walvis Bay town spans 500 years, from the late 1480s when the first European sailor anchored his ship at the bay.’
    • ‘The last occurred in 1882 and Cook witnessed the phenomenon in 1769 after anchoring his ship, the Endeavour, in Matavai Bay, Tahiti.’
    • ‘Geraldton Port Authority acting harbour master David Murgatroyd said the skipper anchored the boat, Rex, and radioed for help about 5 am.’
    • ‘In the evenings, the motor yacht is opportunely anchored for the sublime South Pacific sunsets, best viewed from the broad Sky Deck with a Fiji Bitter in one hand and a camera in the other.’
    • ‘Personnel from HMAS Anzac set off to do a tour of Egypt while the ship is anchored near the entrance to the Suez Canal.’
    • ‘Finally, when the ship was well anchored and docked, the ramp was let down and the men began to file out.’
    • ‘There's a cavern over there on that island, along with a spot to anchor the ship.’
    • ‘You can learn a great deal even when your boat is anchored or tied to the dock, especially if other boas are moving about nearby.’
    • ‘The pub is a mecca for yachters - including Princess Anne, who anchors her ocean-going yacht Royal Doublet in the sheltered deep waters of the loch.’
    moor, berth, harbour, be at anchor, tie up
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Secure firmly in position.
      ‘the tail is used as a hook with which the fish anchors itself to coral’
      • ‘The patient is positioned and anchored securely to prevent injury and movement when the surgical hip is reamed and the surgical leg is manipulated throughout the procedure.’
      • ‘Both will be pushing hard for first team slots this week when Ilkley entertain Northallerton who are firmly anchored at the bottom of Yorkshire League Two.’
      • ‘Thus, for a quantitative characterization it seems reasonable to assume that vesicles are anchored at certain positions and can only move in a restricted space.’
      • ‘The sport is firmly anchored in northern Europe, booming in eastern Europe, popular in Australia and South Africa, and widespread in North America.’
      • ‘Even if the braces were adequately supported at mid span and were adequately anchored at the base and at the wall, the braces could still fail, depending on the strength of the wind gust.’
      • ‘The container of the line was anchored at a known point, and using the distances from that and references from the beach, Divers were able to mark depths and notes on a board with a grease pencil.’
      • ‘Warrington have won just one Super League game and are currently anchored at the foot of the table facing relegation.’
      • ‘And yet, Don Quixote is firmly anchored in Spanish society.’
      • ‘An equally clear-headed production would have anchored both more firmly, but Guedo directs with a heavy hand, and his cumbersome sets soften the play's punch.’
      • ‘Sylvain Wiltord says he plays from the heart and does not want to be anchored to a particular position within a team.’
      • ‘While we were still anchored at Cooktown, we experienced a second coincidental echo between the voyages of past and present.’
      • ‘I found this a little hard to believe until, less than half an hour later, we were anchored at the cavern, about to dive.’
      • ‘The back of the truck is anchored firmly to the asphalt by a ton of documents, storage media, books, computers, and peripheral devices.’
      • ‘Danny Dichio chipped in with two West Brom goals to keep County firmly anchored at the foot of the table.’
      • ‘All will keep playing but likely will be anchored at first base when they reach.’
      • ‘Chief culprit in dental decay is the bacterium Streptococcus mutans, which anchors itself to the tooth and produces lactic acid as a metabolic byproduct.’
      • ‘Each magazine is firmly anchored at bottom and rear.’
      • ‘Gilkey was anchored securely to his position in the gully with two ice axes while the others moved to the other side of a rocky rib to set up a tent.’
      • ‘The world today desperately needs a hope that cannot be disappointed - a hope that is anchored at a point beyond this world and its contingencies.’
      • ‘The problem was that both sets of posts have been firmly anchored in concrete for years and were immovable.’
      secure, fasten, attach, make fast, connect, bind, affix, fix
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2Provide with a firm basis or foundation.
      ‘it is important that policy be anchored to some acceptable theoretical basis’
      • ‘Today, the currency and export policy of China is anchored around its peg to the dollar.’
      • ‘If a government goes out and anchors its purchasing policy on open source, it will, in effect, hurt its local commercial software community, Sharp claimed.’
      • ‘From early on it became clear to close observers of the EU that the role and rule of law were going to be critical in anchoring EU policy regimes.’
      • ‘The program in Charlottesville was anchored on classical foundations.’
      • ‘For while Blair made, and makes, a cogent, cerebral case for his New Labourism, Gordon Brown had the previous day approached the same task - anchoring current policy in old time ideals - via a different route.’
      • ‘Patenting in general increased over this period, and specifically, patenting anchored in existing firm knowledge also increased.’
      • ‘In short, a domestic policy of austerity would be anchored in a supranational regime, a regime designed to provide ‘stability’.’
      • ‘And, on the other hand, the dollar pegs anchored their domestic monetary policies.’
      • ‘Councilman Joseph VanLoan says Kimmell understands the city's vision for the future, one that's firmly anchored in the past.’
      • ‘With a party anchored in a strong foundation, the next chore would be to sell Government programmes and what the New Deal has achieved in the past.’
      • ‘However these ratings were achieved with families performing a uniform task that served to anchor the interaction and provide cues for rater judgment.’
      • ‘Keith only rarely bothers, and most of his recent songs are firmly anchored in the folk or classical tradition.’
      • ‘The book also tells one a lot about Herge, who was a stickler for accuracy and detail and how he ensured that each of the stories was firmly anchored in fact.’
      • ‘Other observers have been equally firm in anchoring American Jewish writing to the immigrant experience, a point brought home by Irving Howe in a famous attack on Philip Roth in Commentary in 1972.’
      • ‘Gold anchored national economies, providing the basis for their currencies.’
      • ‘This is the position that anchors them morally, as all countries justifiably attempt to protect their ways of life.’
      • ‘Davis jettisons all pretensions to nostalgic Englishness and anchors the works firmly in the European post-Romantic tradition.’
      • ‘You want a man who is firmly anchored in his identity in Christ.’
      • ‘He does not press ambitious claims, and each of his opinions is firmly anchored in the law.’
      • ‘Chisholm says he is firmly anchored in publicly funded healthcare, and brandishes a copy of the Wanless Report as his New Year holiday reading.’
      stick, lodge, implant, embed
      View synonyms
  • 2North American Present and coordinate (a television or radio programme)

    ‘she anchored a television documentary series in the early 1980s’
    • ‘And unveiling the Bollywood wardrobe at a press preview here this afternoon was the former Miss India, Gul Panag, who anchors a television show on fashion in one of the leading channels.’
    • ‘The programme has been anchored by a number of special guest presenters since JoAnne's departure including Julian Clary, Mark Little and Carol Barnes.’
    • ‘For the last couple of years, he had been touring schools and libraries in the State and anchoring story-telling sessions on television channels.’
    • ‘To change the subject rather abruptly, the philosophy postgraduates at La Trobe University (my home) have been anchoring a philosophy radio program this year.’
    • ‘During the 1980s, when he anchored a morning news radio programme in Israel, he noticed over time how reports were massaged for public consumption.’
    • ‘It now seems certain Wark will be dropped from her usual role anchoring election programmes north of the Border.’
    • ‘David Dimbleby is being lined up to lead the coverage from Britain, with the 6pm BBC news presenter, Huw Edwards, anchoring a special programme from New York.’
    • ‘She has anchored programmes on television, and has her brand ‘Karens’ producing fruit preserves, marmalades.’
    • ‘Praveena had been anchoring for various programmes on television while she was in the Gulf.’
    • ‘Amaan has anchored five episodes of Top Drive, the television series on Star World, while Ayaan has already held a painting exhibition in New Delhi.’
    • ‘He also has the credit of being the youngest artiste to anchor television programmes.’
    • ‘Sophie, who has a degree in war studies and an MA in broadcast journalism, will be using her previous experience as presenter of Midlands Today to anchor the new programme from the studio.’
    • ‘Partly, though, it's a consequence of Dunphy editing his programme as well as anchoring it.’
    • ‘M. Ramesh, who anchors the popular breakfast show Vanakkam Thamizhagam, is a familiar face on the small screen.’
    • ‘On the night the Queen's Jubilee Baton arrived in Manchester, almost 800,000 viewers watched the programme, which is anchored by presenter Gordon Burns.’
    • ‘So I would put him in the debates, and I would also suggest that all the debates be anchored by Larry King.’
    • ‘To say he was smooth on the air doesn't do him justice, especially to those of us who have anchored television newscasts - and who, in my case, have good reasons for doing so no more.’
    • ‘As we said, Wolf Blitzer is anchoring our election coverage this evening and through tomorrow.’
    • ‘The programme was anchored by popular television artiste, Udaya Bhanu.’
    • ‘Each episode of the programme, anchored by Yugendran, son of the well-known singer, Malaysia Vasudevan, has three teams fiercely competing with one another.’
    host, introduce, announce, compère, be the presenter of
    View synonyms


  • at anchor

    • (of a ship) moored by means of an anchor.

      ‘thirty ships lay at anchor here the day before’
      • ‘At the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, dozens of container ships are stuck waiting at anchor or in a berth at any given time because there aren't enough dockworkers to unload them.’
      • ‘The baton was transferred from her sister ship HMS Kent at anchor of Salalah, Oman after a concentrated programme of briefings, personnel and equipment exchanges.’
      • ‘Two large Indonesian naval ships lay at anchor off shore.’
      • ‘They simultaneously attacked the airfields and the ships at anchor in the bay.’
      • ‘By the time they'd reached the top of the hills surrounding the harbor where the ship lay at anchor, she'd fallen hopelessly in love with Greece, the island and the taxi driver.’
  • drop anchor

    • (of a ship) let down the anchor and moor.

      ‘I found a sheltered cove and dropped anchor for the night’
      • ‘Best of all, the new docking arrangement would eliminate the need for some ships to drop anchor in the harbor, a true improvement, most anyone would agree, over the time-consuming nuisance of having to travel back and forth by tender.’
      • ‘We were about to leave our berth, at the smallish cruise ship pier, when another passenger vessel motored in and dropped anchor right in the path our ship would normally take to move out of the harbor.’
      • ‘He found a safe site on the coast of South Africa where future sailing ships could drop anchor to pick up fresh water and food.’
      • ‘Rain drove in great sheets across the bow as the ship struggled to drop anchor in the outer harbor.’
      • ‘Fair Isle's residents are surprisingly used to seeing strangers strolling around their land ever since cruise ships first dropped anchor off their shores.’
      moor, berth, harbour, be at anchor, tie up
      View synonyms
  • weigh (or raise) anchor

    • (of a ship) take up the anchor when ready to start sailing.

      • ‘The next day with good weather the ship weighed anchor to rendezvous with HMAS Sydney.’
      • ‘There was a sharp tug and a few muffled cries of sailors as they docked the ship, weighing anchor and tying ropes the width of Cleo's arm to great posts on the dock wall.’
      • ‘The ship weighed anchor as planned on April 18 after a visit which seemed all too short, and headed east on a passage of some 5,800 miles to Cairns in Australia.’
      • ‘Then, weigh anchor and set sail for Gibraltar.’
      • ‘This year, both Disney ships sold out their 875 staterooms throughout the summer, months before the ships weighed anchor.’


Old English ancor, ancra, via Latin from Greek ankura; reinforced in Middle English by Old French ancre. The current form is from anchora, an erroneous Latin spelling. The verb (from Old French ancrer) dates from Middle English.