Definition of anchor in US English:



  • 1A heavy object attached to a rope or chain and used to moor a vessel to the sea bottom, typically one having a metal shank with a ring at one end for the rope and a pair of curved and/or barbed flukes at the other.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Also in the bay is the anchor and chain from the Rhone, only discovered encrusted in coral a few years previously.’
    • ‘There are no signs of anchors, chain or anchor winch.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘New equipment including GPS and an electronic navigation chart system was put to work and the anchor and cable were nominally relocated.’
    • ‘And by their clinging to the anchor of a sinking ship for security, they drown in their own folly.’
    • ‘The marina helps them set two anchors with chain, plus two extra-long anchor lines.’
    • ‘The other objects include a large ship's anchor and an eight-foot slab of concrete, both with paint scrapings.’
    • ‘They ranged from the production of brass and other non-ferrous metals to screws, nuts, bolts, chains and anchors, pins, and jewellery.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Forward of the boilers there is little but scraps of metal, except for the anchor winch, chains and anchors.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They rigged two mooring legs on the ship's fantail, consisting of anchors, chain and heavy cable attached to two buoys.’
    • ‘It has a wide range of marine plant available for hire and sale which includes tugs, pontoons, workboats, anchors, chain etc.’
    • ‘A ship had thrown its anchor down near desolate shores, constantly ravaged and pummeled by persistent waves.’
    • ‘Anchors and anchor chains cause serious damage to reef corals and will uproot sea grasses.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Her anchor chains are on trailers at dockside and her huge oil transfer hoses are nowhere to be seen.’
    1. 1.1 A 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 post office is the anchor and provides the foot flow.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘His theses drawn from cultural and analytic vertices, provide anchors for the incomprehensible.’
      • ‘Obviously, Walker's idea needs an anchor at both ends, and today, for the first time in decades, both those anchors seem secure.’
      • ‘We have declared that we see the Currency Board as a very important anchor of stability for the country's financial and economic system.’
      • ‘Nonetheless, the basic line from which the image evolved - and around which all its complexities revolve - provides a clarifying anchor.’
      • ‘The three vessels had been prepared to survive Hurricane Ivan by securing them to fixed anchors located in the bay.’
      • ‘That analysis provided an anchor for negotiations.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Authors are separated to encourage browsing, or placed together to provide a stable anchor.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘‘I hope to be an anchor to bring the stability to look at the economic and political coverage of the paper,’ he said.’
      • ‘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 total effect was surprisingly focused and intimate, with Gabriel's confessional singing style providing an emotional anchor for the ever-shifting visuals.’
      • ‘The Big Three anchors did provide a sense of rock-steady comfort.’
      • ‘The metronome set to the macro beat will provide a rhythmic anchor for the student.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I think he's not your typical anchor, in that he shows up in situations that other anchors don't.’
      • ‘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.’
      mainstay, cornerstone, bulwark, chief support, main source of security, main source of stability, foundation, prop, linchpin
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 A store, e.g., a department store, that is the principal tenant of a mall or a shopping center.
      • ‘‘We are delighted to sign up Wilkinson as our anchor tenant for this prestigious development for Bradford,’ he said.’
      • ‘A new town centre is promised for Southill, with the giant retail discount store Aldi as anchor tenant.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In 1992, MBI landed a large mall project with multiple 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.’
      • ‘All major re-developments in the municipality, such as Majors Bay Rd and Five Dock have a supermarket chain as the anchor.’
      • ‘I don't think we'll be seeing pride boutiques opening as anchor stores at any of the major malls quite yet.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Competition for anchor stores in shopping centres remains robust with Dunnes, Superquinn, Marks and Spencers and Tesco all hoping to expand their presence.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      centre, focal point, central point, centre of attention, hub, pivot, nucleus, heart, cornerstone, linchpin, kingpin, bedrock, basis, backbone, cynosure
      View synonyms
  • 2North American An anchorman or anchorwoman, especially in broadcasting or athletics.

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


[with object]
  • 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 harbor’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘We shall put her in the side of a cove, and anchor our ships behind her.’
    • ‘Finally, when the ship was well anchored and docked, the ramp was let down and the men began to file out.’
    • ‘One needs to find a space to anchor the ship before applying for a license.’
    • ‘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 ship is currently anchored outside Colombo Harbour.’
    • ‘A ship is anchored and ready to set sail for England on my command.’
    • ‘Luxury yachts are docked in the harbour, and giant cruise ships are anchored swimming distance from the beach.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Personnel from HMAS Anzac set off to do a tour of Egypt while the ship is anchored near the entrance to the Suez Canal.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘At some point construction on the inside of the marina will begin and anchored yachts will be chased back outside.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The last occurred in 1882 and Cook witnessed the phenomenon in 1769 after anchoring his ship, the Endeavour, in Matavai Bay, Tahiti.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘There's a cavern over there on that island, along with a spot to anchor the ship.’
    moor, berth, harbour, be at anchor, tie up
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Secure firmly in position.
      ‘the tail is used as a hook with which the fish anchors itself to coral’
      ‘with cords and pitons they anchored him to the rock’
      figurative ‘the first baseman is anchored to the bag’
      • ‘The sport is firmly anchored in northern Europe, booming in eastern Europe, popular in Australia and South Africa, and widespread in North America.’
      • ‘All will keep playing but likely will be anchored at first base when they reach.’
      • ‘Danny Dichio chipped in with two West Brom goals to keep County firmly anchored at the foot of the table.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Warrington have won just one Super League game and are currently anchored at the foot of the table facing relegation.’
      • ‘While we were still anchored at Cooktown, we experienced a second coincidental echo between the voyages of past and present.’
      • ‘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 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.’
      • ‘Sylvain Wiltord says he plays from the heart and does not want to be anchored to a particular position within a team.’
      • ‘The back of the truck is anchored firmly to the asphalt by a ton of documents, storage media, books, computers, and peripheral devices.’
      • ‘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 world today desperately needs a hope that cannot be disappointed - a hope that is anchored at a point beyond this world and its contingencies.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The problem was that both sets of posts have been firmly anchored in concrete for years and were immovable.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Each magazine is firmly anchored at bottom and rear.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Chief culprit in dental decay is the bacterium Streptococcus mutans, which anchors itself to the tooth and produces lactic acid as a metabolic byproduct.’
      • ‘And yet, Don Quixote is firmly anchored in Spanish society.’
      secure, fasten, attach, make fast, connect, bind, affix, fix
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 Provide with a firm basis or foundation.
      ‘it is important that policy be anchored to some acceptable theoretical basis’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘You want a man who is firmly anchored in his identity in Christ.’
      • ‘Chisholm says he is firmly anchored in publicly funded healthcare, and brandishes a copy of the Wanless Report as his New Year holiday reading.’
      • ‘In short, a domestic policy of austerity would be anchored in a supranational regime, a regime designed to provide ‘stability’.’
      • ‘This is the position that anchors them morally, as all countries justifiably attempt to protect their ways of life.’
      • ‘The program in Charlottesville was anchored on classical foundations.’
      • ‘However these ratings were achieved with families performing a uniform task that served to anchor the interaction and provide cues for rater judgment.’
      • ‘And, on the other hand, the dollar pegs anchored their domestic monetary policies.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Davis jettisons all pretensions to nostalgic Englishness and anchors the works firmly in the European post-Romantic tradition.’
      • ‘Keith only rarely bothers, and most of his recent songs are firmly anchored in the folk or classical tradition.’
      • ‘Gold anchored national economies, providing the basis for their currencies.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He does not press ambitious claims, and each of his opinions is firmly anchored in the law.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Councilman Joseph VanLoan says Kimmell understands the city's vision for the future, one that's firmly anchored in the past.’
      • ‘Patenting in general increased over this period, and specifically, patenting anchored in existing firm knowledge also increased.’
      • ‘Today, the currency and export policy of China is anchored around its peg to the dollar.’
      • ‘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.’
      stick, lodge, implant, embed
      View synonyms
  • 2North American Act as an anchor for (a television program or sporting event)

    ‘she anchored a television documentary series in the early 1980s’
    • ‘Praveena had been anchoring for various programmes on television while she was in the Gulf.’
    • ‘As we said, Wolf Blitzer is anchoring our election coverage this evening and through tomorrow.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The programme has been anchored by a number of special guest presenters since JoAnne's departure including Julian Clary, Mark Little and Carol Barnes.’
    • ‘During the 1980s, when he anchored a morning news radio programme in Israel, he noticed over time how reports were massaged for public consumption.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘For the last couple of years, he had been touring schools and libraries in the State and anchoring story-telling sessions on television channels.’
    • ‘It now seems certain Wark will be dropped from her usual role anchoring election programmes north of the Border.’
    • ‘She has anchored programmes on television, and has her brand ‘Karens’ producing fruit preserves, marmalades.’
    • ‘Each episode of the programme, anchored by Yugendran, son of the well-known singer, Malaysia Vasudevan, has three teams fiercely competing with one another.’
    • ‘M. Ramesh, who anchors the popular breakfast show Vanakkam Thamizhagam, is a familiar face on the small screen.’
    • ‘To change the subject rather abruptly, the philosophy postgraduates at La Trobe University (my home) have been anchoring a philosophy radio program this year.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘So I would put him in the debates, and I would also suggest that all the debates be anchored by Larry King.’
    • ‘The programme was anchored by popular television artiste, Udaya Bhanu.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Partly, though, it's a consequence of Dunphy editing his programme as well as anchoring it.’
    host, introduce, announce, compère, be the presenter of
    View synonyms


  • at anchor

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

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Two large Indonesian naval ships lay at anchor off shore.’
      • ‘They simultaneously attacked the airfields and the ships at anchor in the bay.’
  • drop anchor

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

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      moor, berth, harbour, be at anchor, tie up
      View synonyms
  • weigh anchor

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

      • ‘This year, both Disney ships sold out their 875 staterooms throughout the summer, months before the ships weighed anchor.’
      • ‘The next day with good weather the ship weighed anchor to rendezvous with HMAS Sydney.’
      • ‘Then, weigh anchor and set sail for Gibraltar.’
      • ‘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.’
      set sail, put to sea, put out, put out to sea, leave port, leave dock, leave harbour, hoist sail, raise sail, weigh anchor, put off, shove off
      View synonyms


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.