Definition of anvil in English:



  • 1A heavy steel or iron block with a flat top, concave sides, and typically a pointed end, on which metal can be hammered and shaped.

    • ‘The smith looked up from the sword he was pounding on an anvil with a huge hammer, and wiped his eyes.’
    • ‘Then Wollaston placed the metallic plug onto an anvil and began to hammer it - gently at first and then with increasing intensity.’
    • ‘Rather, imagine the work of a blacksmith with his heavy hammer and anvil and a thick leather apron, smoke billowing from the forge.’
    • ‘The blacksmith's skills are shown in the anvil and the hammer.’
    • ‘After a few minutes, he lifted the piece of metal off the anvil with a pair of tongs and plunged it into a bucket of water near by.’
    • ‘In his youth he struck many a telling blow from the hammer on the anvil and now he is keeping an important part of our culture alive.’
    • ‘They are both innately skilled, whether working metal with a hammer and anvil or wood with a carving tool.’
    • ‘As the Smith forged iron, with his hammer and anvil, so the development of the blast furnace required control over fire-processes.’
    • ‘Skilled club-makers such as Willie Grant and Robin Faichney toiled nearby, and the sound of metal bashing against the anvils contributed to an incessant din resounding through Betty's ears.’
    • ‘In the simplest case, the metal is compressed between a hammer and an anvil and the final shape is obtained by turning and moving the work piece between blows.’
    • ‘Thousands of stone hammers, anvils, crucibles, metal objects, and pieces of ancient metallurgical debris were also recovered.’
    • ‘Their first few tools consisted of an engine block which was used as an anvil and some self-made hammers.’
    • ‘Although the small shop houses a grinder-buffer, drill, bench sander and electric saw, most of the tools are primitive looking hammers, mallets and anvils.’
    • ‘All you need is a plenishing hammer, the anvil, a few metal punches, files, tin-snips for cutting sheets of silver up to make rings and that's it.’
    • ‘Here, among heavy industrial machinery, anvils and workbenches, Gibb and his assistant, Fiona Liddell, make miracles happen.’
    • ‘There the smiths beat the metal on anvils on top or in huge furnaces.’
    • ‘If a component was fairly large, he might have to modify his hearth to accommodate the work, and certainly needed to draft in help to control the hot metal on the anvil.’
    • ‘The evidence from the 14th-century cathedral at Orvieto provides indications of the tools used in mosaic-making, ranging from hammers, anvils, and a variety of cutting tools to blowpipes, shears, and ladles on the glass-making side.’
    • ‘The firm no longer shoes horses, but still practises all the other traditional methods - using an anvil, hammer and coke fire - that the first Dunbars used all those years ago.’
    • ‘Rocks are crushed between rotating hammers and steel anvils.’
    mould, model, pattern, form, matrix
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1The horizontally extended upper part of a cumulonimbus cloud.
      [as modifier] ‘anvil clouds’
      • ‘A thundercloud, with a distinctive upper anvil shape, results from air which is moist and unstable rising by convection.’
      • ‘Composed mostly of ice, an anvil cloud gets its shape from the rising air in the thunderstorm that expands and spreads out as the air bumps up against the bottom of the stratosphere.’
      • ‘The researchers found when Saharan dust is in the air, the anvils produced by Florida's convective thunderstorms tend to be a little smaller in area, but better organized and thicker.’
      • ‘The top of a cumulonimbus cloud is often capped by cirrus, which is why the anvil of a thundercloud is often brilliant white.’
      • ‘The winds from above cause the head of the storm to tilt, and this creates the anvil at the top.’
      • ‘Amature meteorologists will recognize the cumulonimbus, a thunderstorm cloud characterized by the anvil shaped top.’
    2. 1.2Anatomy
      another term for incus
      • ‘The findings are drawn from examination of the hammer, anvil and stirrup bones in the ears of Homo heidelbergensis fossils, also known as Boxgrove Man.’
      • ‘The middle ear is an air-filled cavity which consists of an eardrum and three tiny, interconnected bones - the hammer, anvil, and stirrup.’
      • ‘Three small bones (the hammer, anvil, and stirrup bones) vibrate with the sound, passing the vibrations to the inner ear.’
      • ‘The sound makes the eardrum vibrate, which in turn causes a series of three tiny bones (the hammer, the anvil, and the stirrup) in the middle ear to vibrate.’
      • ‘There they became the anvil and the hammer, minute bones that transmit sound from the eardrum to the stirrup bone and, ultimately, to the inner ear.’


Old English anfilte, from the Germanic base of on + a verbal stem meaning beat.