Definition of anoint in US 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’
    • ‘He begins by accepting the very dubious identification of her with the ‘woman who was a sinner’ and who anointed the feet of Christ.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Following baptism, the child is anointed with a special oil and dressed in new clothing.’
    • ‘Moses then took the anointing oil, anointed the Tabernacle, and all that was within it and consecrated it.’
    • ‘The women speculate on the stone and who will move it for them so they can anoint the body.’
    • ‘According to some reports, when they returned two days later to anoint his body, they found the tomb empty.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘For example, the body might first be anointed with oil to prevent water from seeping through the skin.’
    • ‘Oil was used for anointing the objects in the tabernacle setting them apart for Gods use.’
    • ‘An unsteady faith leads us back to the tombs, as it led Mary in her desire to anoint Jesus once more in death.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘After death, bodies are rubbed and anointed to remove rigor mortis.’
    • ‘The Rev Derek Wooldridge anointed the baby with oil at her hospital bedside in Leeds before a donor was found.’
    • ‘When Mary Magdalene went to Jesus's tomb to anoint the body, she was shocked to find it empty.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Deeply ashamed and motivated by love and repentance, she anoints Jesus with oil and washes his feet.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    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)
      ‘Cuna Indians anoint the tips of their arrows with poison’
      • ‘Savitri looked down again and saw that she was anointing her husband's body with a drizzle of tears.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Rian said, ‘Does the priest anoint them with holy water?’’
      • ‘The girls bowed before the image and then anointed it with powder from a small pot carried by one the brides' friends.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘We see the example of the act of anointing people with oil for physical ailments…’
      • ‘As we sniffed the ballotine of foie gras, we realised that it had been anointed with balsamic that was a mere 10 years old.’
      • ‘He anoints his body with an endless series of unguents, emollients, lubricants, and conditioners.’
      • ‘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 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.’
      • ‘The priest anointed the plough with sandalwood, salt, and holy chrism.’
      • ‘Because if you're anointing your appliances with olive oil because a WEBSITE told you to, you're clearly easily manipulated.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Shiva anoints his arm with sandal paste and holy water of river Ganges.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
    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’
      ‘the Lord has anointed me to preach to the poor’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Both the Visigoths and the Franks, in emulation of the Old Testament, anointed their kings with holy oil.’
      • ‘In Israel, high priests were anointed with oil, signifying that God had chosen them.’
      • ‘In the year 879 Saul is anointed as king by the prophet Samuel in accordance with the wishes of the people.’
      • ‘When the first king turned from the ways of God, he anointed the next king, David, and heralded in another era.’
      • ‘In 754 Pope Stephen II personally went to Ponthion to consecrate his power through the highly symbolical act of ceremonially anointing Pippin as king.’
      • ‘She understood however, the power of symbolism and why the king she crowned had to be anointed with holy oils.’
      • ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.’
      • ‘The prophet Samuel has been prompted by God to anoint the new kings of Israel.’
      • ‘This is necessary because the Messiah will be a king, and a king can be anointed only by a prophet.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Jesus was anointed by the Spirit for the extraordinary task of ministry.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘So a delegation is dispatched to ask Samuel to anoint a king instead.’
      • ‘The modern bureaucratic nation-state is not the same as the medieval Christian king anointed by God to wield the secular sword.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘God told the prophet Samuel to go to Jesse's home to anoint the next king of Israel.’
      • ‘Saul was anointed as king, and was used by God and victories were given him.’
      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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Six years later she was anointed prime minister.’
      • ‘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.’’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The administration's obsession with loyalty has also kept the administration from anointing a physician already in government as chief medical spokesperson.’
      • ‘And now his party will anoint this man their ‘hero’, and send him off to battle for the leadership of the free world.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘When Ricky Ponting was injured, he more or less anointed Michael Clarke as his successor.’
      • ‘It's ten years since Tony Blair was anointed leader of the British Labour Party.’
      • ‘The proposal is to give the power of anointing a new leader back to MPs.’
      • ‘As a hardline right-winger in the early 1990s I was personally anointed by Margaret Thatcher as her chosen successor.’
      • ‘There is a hue and cry about statements made by the Opposition, but consider this: the Prime Minister anoints his wife Minister of Education.’
      • ‘Johnny will interpret his increased margin and perceived further conservative shift as justification to anoint Tony Abbott as his chosen successor.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Since that speech, he was anointed as a future leader of the Democratic 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Such a reputation has Harrington that in Houston, Charles Barkley had anointed him his successor at power forward.’
      • ‘Asked about the Chancellor's future, Mr Blair praised Mr Brown but stopped short of anointing him.’


  • Anointing of the Sick

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

      • ‘They observe seven sacraments: the Eucharist, Baptism, Confirmation, Penance, Matrimony, Holy Orders, and the Anointing of the Sick.’
      • ‘There will be Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick at 2.30 pm.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The sacrament of Anointing of the Sick has not been called ‘Last Rites’ by the Church for some time.’
      • ‘His wounds are severe, and I would feel remiss if I neglected to give him the Anointing of the Sick right away.’
      • ‘There will be a special Mass on Thursday at 3pm during which the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick will be celebrated.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The miracles at Lourdes and other pilgrim shrines occur very often by means of the Eucharist, Reconciliation, and the Anointing of the Sick.’
      • ‘A ceremony for the Anointing of the Sick will take place on this Sunday, November 9th in Kilglass Church at 3 p.m.’
      • ‘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.’
  • God's (or the Lord's) anointed

    • A monarch ruling by divine right.

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘As the sons of Jesse were paraded before Samuel, even the Lord's servant said of Eliab: ‘Surely the Lord's anointed stands here’.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’


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