Definition of anoint in English:



[with object]
  • 1Smear or rub with oil, typically as part of a religious ceremony.

    ‘high priests were anointed with oil’
    ‘bodies were anointed after death for burial’
    • ‘One traditional practice that is part of this belief system is anointing one's body with butter or ghee, a clarified butter used for cooking and other purposes.’
    • ‘For example, the body might first be anointed with oil to prevent water from seeping through the skin.’
    • ‘The first episode of the passion account is that of a nameless woman who anoints Jesus for burial, correctly recognizing his kingly identity and his approaching death.’
    • ‘Oil was used for anointing the objects in the tabernacle setting them apart for Gods use.’
    • ‘The Rev Derek Wooldridge anointed the baby with oil at her hospital bedside in Leeds before a donor was found.’
    • ‘The bishop's prayer that speaks of the layer of regeneration of the Holy Spirit is given next as he lays a hand on the new Christians and anoints them on the forehead with holy oil.’
    • ‘The priest anointed me with the oil of confirmation.’
    • ‘Achilles goes out to the wagon and takes two capes and a shirt for Hector's body, ordering his men to clean and anoint the body before Priam sees it.’
    • ‘When Mary Magdalene went to Jesus's tomb to anoint the body, she was shocked to find it empty.’
    • ‘He begins by accepting the very dubious identification of her with the ‘woman who was a sinner’ and who anointed the feet of Christ.’
    • ‘Moses then took the anointing oil, anointed the Tabernacle, and all that was within it and consecrated it.’
    • ‘Ritually anointing our hands is both a symbol of the renewal of creation as well as a spiritual cleansing in preparation for the work of the new day.’
    • ‘An unsteady faith leads us back to the tombs, as it led Mary in her desire to anoint Jesus once more in death.’
    • ‘Deeply ashamed and motivated by love and repentance, she anoints Jesus with oil and washes his feet.’
    • ‘In front of the altar, the priest anoints the child with the ‘oil of joy’ (blessed olive oil) on the forehead, breast, shoulders, ears, hands, and feet.’
    • ‘Following baptism, the child is anointed with a special oil and dressed in new clothing.’
    • ‘He sprinkled some of it on the altar seven times, anointed the altar and all its utensils, and the layer and its base, to sanctify them.’
    • ‘The women speculate on the stone and who will move it for them so they can anoint the body.’
    • ‘After death, bodies are rubbed and anointed to remove rigor mortis.’
    • ‘According to some reports, when they returned two days later to anoint his body, they found the tomb empty.’
    smear with oil, rub with oil, apply oil to, spread oil over
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1anoint something with Smear or rub something with (any other substance)
      ‘Kuna Indians anoint the tips of their arrows with poison’
      • ‘As I dressed her wound, she informed me of how she had initiated her treatment at home by anointing the offending knife with oil, wrapping it in a clean linen napkin, and placing the knife in a drawer.’
      • ‘Crush them, take your men and wipe them clean from this earth, anoint the soil with their blood, and spill it in my name, for this land shall be our land now.’
      • ‘He anoints his body with an endless series of unguents, emollients, lubricants, and conditioners.’
      • ‘In front of rapt audiences he would burn his skin with acid and then anoint the wounds with his wonder-jelly, pointing to earlier scars Vaseline had healed.’
      • ‘Shiva anoints his arm with sandal paste and holy water of river Ganges.’
      • ‘He anoints them with water, pelts them with rocks, and burns Asian bank notes inside the craniums before covering them with Mardi Gras beads and found objects.’
      • ‘When I started at the Savoy my temporary boss was the young Spanish man who, as previously described, had anointed my middle finger with vintage brandy.’
      • ‘Like the bloody napkin and the physical examination, this test is not as foolproof as it sounds: one simply anoints the sieve with lanolin to provide a seal.’
      • ‘Rian said, ‘Does the priest anoint them with holy water?’’
      • ‘Fat of lion, fat of hippo, fat of cat, fat of crocodile, fat of ibex, fat of serpent, are mixed together and the head of the bald person is anointed with them.’
      • ‘If you are lucky, you may even find an artist carefully anointing a canvas with oils, while the service staff move past with the plates for the diners.’
      • ‘As we sniffed the ballotine of foie gras, we realised that it had been anointed with balsamic that was a mere 10 years old.’
      • ‘The girls bowed before the image and then anointed it with powder from a small pot carried by one the brides' friends.’
      • ‘Wine-based oils were popularly used for anointing the forehead with perfumed unguents.’
      • ‘In the poem, Hector's body, attached to Achilles' chariot and dragged around Troy, cannot be mutilated because Aphrodite has anointed it with ambrosia.’
      • ‘The priest anointed the plough with sandalwood, salt, and holy chrism.’
      • ‘We see the example of the act of anointing people with oil for physical ailments…’
      • ‘Because if you're anointing your appliances with olive oil because a WEBSITE told you to, you're clearly easily manipulated.’
      • ‘But the tearful lover, turned away from her door, often smothers the threshold with flowers and garlands, and anoints the proud doorposts with marjoram, and plants kisses, poor wretch, on the door.’
      • ‘Savitri looked down again and saw that she was anointing her husband's body with a drizzle of tears.’
    2. 1.2 Ceremonially confer divine or holy office upon (a priest or monarch) by smearing or rubbing with oil.
      with object and complement ‘Samuel anointed him king’
      • ‘Jesus was anointed by the Spirit for the extraordinary task of ministry.’
      • ‘The prophet Samuel has been prompted by God to anoint the new kings of Israel.’
      • ‘In Israel, high priests were anointed with oil, signifying that God had chosen them.’
      • ‘In 754 Pope Stephen II personally went to Ponthion to consecrate his power through the highly symbolical act of ceremonially anointing Pippin as king.’
      • ‘This was the oil they used to anoint kings and priests, and that upon John the Baptist anointing Jesus, Jesus sees a vision of God, and the Holy Spirit descends on him.’
      • ‘Shortly after Solomon is anointed king, God appears to him in a dream in which He invites Solomon to make a request for himself.’
      • ‘Saul was anointed as king, and was used by God and victories were given him.’
      • ‘Both the Visigoths and the Franks, in emulation of the Old Testament, anointed their kings with holy oil.’
      • ‘In the year 879 Saul is anointed as king by the prophet Samuel in accordance with the wishes of the people.’
      • ‘He will then be anointed in a special ceremony and, as an act of humility, will wash the hands of various members of the community.’
      • ‘When the first king turned from the ways of God, he anointed the next king, David, and heralded in another era.’
      • ‘God told the prophet Samuel to go to Jesse's home to anoint the next king of Israel.’
      • ‘The modern bureaucratic nation-state is not the same as the medieval Christian king anointed by God to wield the secular sword.’
      • ‘She understood however, the power of symbolism and why the king she crowned had to be anointed with holy oils.’
      • ‘This is necessary because the Messiah will be a king, and a king can be anointed only by a prophet.’
      • ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.’
      • ‘But when the time comes for a conclave to anoint a new pontiff to lead the world's 1.1 billion Catholics, John Paul's influence will still be considerable.’
      • ‘Although all kings seemingly passed through a ritual inauguration - the evidence is less clear-cut for Wales than elsewhere - only the English kings were anointed with holy oil in the style of the main western European monarchies.’
      • ‘In one he expressly declared that the coronation of the Young King by the Archbishop of York did not constitute a precedent and that the right to crown and anoint the kings of England belonged to Canterbury.’
      • ‘So a delegation is dispatched to ask Samuel to anoint a king instead.’
      consecrate, sanctify, bless, ordain, hallow
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3 Nominate or choose (someone) as successor to or leading candidate for a position.
      ‘he was anointed as the organizational candidate of the party’
      • ‘Of course, now that Apple has anointed him CEO, Jobs is no longer an interim success story, but he has become a model in how an interim can recharge an organization.’
      • ‘As a hardline right-winger in the early 1990s I was personally anointed by Margaret Thatcher as her chosen successor.’
      • ‘His fellow lawyers at the American Bar Association awarded him their Silver Gavel award, and the prestigious Journal of Philosophy anoints him ‘America's leading legal philosopher.’’
      • ‘He later discovered that there is a ritual of initiation into the army in which all applicants are anointed under the spirit of the lion.’
      • ‘Johnny will interpret his increased margin and perceived further conservative shift as justification to anoint Tony Abbott as his chosen successor.’
      • ‘Six years later she was anointed prime minister.’
      • ‘The administration's obsession with loyalty has also kept the administration from anointing a physician already in government as chief medical spokesperson.’
      • ‘When Ricky Ponting was injured, he more or less anointed Michael Clarke as his successor.’
      • ‘Such a reputation has Harrington that in Houston, Charles Barkley had anointed him his successor at power forward.’
      • ‘There is a hue and cry about statements made by the Opposition, but consider this: the Prime Minister anoints his wife Minister of Education.’
      • ‘Nor is he doing all that badly for one who never cared to travel abroad and rarely read up on foreign policy issues before the Supreme Court suddenly anointed him President.’
      • ‘Asked about the Chancellor's future, Mr Blair praised Mr Brown but stopped short of anointing him.’
      • ‘It told people when to move to new hunting grounds, when to plant crops, when to bury the dead, anoint new rulers, slaughter animals, make babies.’
      • ‘The 2004 Democratic presidential nominee will be known long before the party faithful gather in Boston this summer to officially anoint him to challenge President George W. Bush.’
      • ‘And now his party will anoint this man their ‘hero’, and send him off to battle for the leadership of the free world.’
      • ‘The proposal is to give the power of anointing a new leader back to MPs.’
      • ‘Their shot at least one network anchor job was eliminated this past summer when MSNBC anchor Brian Williams was anointed the successor to NBC veteran anchor Tom Brokaw.’
      • ‘It's ten years since Tony Blair was anointed leader of the British Labour Party.’
      • ‘I have been brought up by a father who made it clear that he thought women could do everything men could do and anointed me as a leader and as a person he believed had capacity.’
      • ‘Since that speech, he was anointed as a future leader of the Democratic Party.’


  • Anointing of the Sick

    • (in the Roman Catholic Church) the sacramental anointing of the ill or infirm with blessed oil; unction.

      • ‘The sacrament of Anointing of the Sick has not been called ‘Last Rites’ by the Church for some time.’
      • ‘Parishioners are also asked to look in on neighbours and offer to bring them to the Church for the Anointing of the Sick ceremony during the Mass.’
      • ‘There will be a special Mass on Thursday at 3pm during which the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick will be celebrated.’
      • ‘His wounds are severe, and I would feel remiss if I neglected to give him the Anointing of the Sick right away.’
      • ‘The miracles at Lourdes and other pilgrim shrines occur very often by means of the Eucharist, Reconciliation, and the Anointing of the Sick.’
      • ‘In the Romanian Orthodox church, the Anointing of the Sick is administered by three priests and may be given to the healthy to prevent illness.’
      • ‘There will be Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick at 2.30 pm.’
      • ‘A ceremony for the Anointing of the Sick will take place on this Sunday, November 9th in Kilglass Church at 3 p.m.’
      • ‘The sick and house-bound will be visited throughout the parish, if you would like to be brought Holy Communion or Anointing of the Sick or know someone who would, please get in contact with one of the priests of the parish.’
      • ‘They observe seven sacraments: the Eucharist, Baptism, Confirmation, Penance, Matrimony, Holy Orders, and the Anointing of the Sick.’
  • God's (or the Lord's) anointed

    • A monarch ruling by divine right.

      ‘the ceremonial reminded the king's subjects that he was God's anointed’
      • ‘How wast thou not afraid to stretch forth thine hand to destroy the Lord's anointed?’
      • ‘For who can stretch forth his hand against the Lord's anointed and be guiltless?’
      • ‘Instead of praising the act of killing Saul as merciful and kind, David calls for the man to be executed because of his not being afraid to destroy the Lord's anointed.’
      • ‘By contrast with the medieval monarch, relatively secure in his rank and his religious status as the anointed of God, the signore had to be suspicious and wary.’
      • ‘As the sons of Jesse were paraded before Samuel, even the Lord's servant said of Eliab: ‘Surely the Lord's anointed stands here’.’
      • ‘Reacting to this injustice with the righteous indignation of the Lord's anointed, David is enraged that anything so egregious, so pitiless, should take place in his kingdom.’
      • ‘When David had an opportunity to destroy Saul, who was trying to kill him, he said: I will not put forth mine hand against the Lord: for he is the Lord's anointed.’


Middle English: from Old French enoint ‘anointed’, past participle of enoindre, from Latin inungere, from in- ‘upon’ + ungere ‘anoint, smear with oil’.