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[uh-noint] /əˈnɔɪnt/
verb (used with object)
to rub or sprinkle on; apply an unguent, ointment, or oily liquid to.
to smear with any liquid.
to consecrate or make sacred in a ceremony that includes the token applying of oil:
He anointed the new high priest.
to dedicate to the service of God.
Origin of anoint
1300-50; Middle English anoynten, derivative of anoynt, enoynt (past participle) < Old French enoint < Latin inūnctus anointed (past participle of inungere), equivalent to in- in-2 + ung- smear with oil + -tus past participle suffix
Related forms
anointer, noun
anointment, noun
reanoint, verb (used with object)
reanointment, noun
self-anointed, adjective
unanointed, adjective
well-anointed, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for anoint
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • With tallow they anoint their bodies from head to toe and even use it to shave their beards instead of soap.

    West African studies Mary Henrietta Kingsley
  • anoint me with the chrism of spontaneity that I may be ever worthy of thee.

    The Book of Khalid Ameen Rihani
  • They allow their hair to grow long, but do not, for want of means, anoint it with oil.

  • So be it, but I tell you that I will tear your city stone from stone, and anoint its ruins with your blood.

    Elissa H. Rider Haggard
  • It was customary also to anoint the lips of the image and the cornices of the door with the victim's blood.

British Dictionary definitions for anoint


verb (transitive)
to smear or rub over with oil or an oily liquid
to apply oil to as a sign of consecration or sanctification in a sacred rite
Derived Forms
anointer, noun
anointment, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Old French enoint, from enoindre, from Latin inunguere, from in-² + unguere to smear with oil
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for anoint

c.1300 (implied in anointing), from Old French enoint "smeared on," past participle of enoindre "smear on," from Latin inunguere "to anoint," from in- "on" + unguere "to smear" (see unguent). Originally in reference to grease or oil smeared on for medicinal purposes; its use in the Coverdale Bible in reference to Christ (cf. The Lord's Anointed, see chrism) has spiritualized the word. Related: Anointed; anointing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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anoint in the Bible

The practice of anointing with perfumed oil was common among the Hebrews. (1.) The act of anointing was significant of consecration to a holy or sacred use; hence the anointing of the high priest (Ex. 29:29; Lev. 4:3) and of the sacred vessels (Ex. 30:26). The high priest and the king are thus called "the anointed" (Lev. 4:3, 5, 16; 6:20; Ps. 132:10). Anointing a king was equivalent to crowning him (1 Sam. 16:13; 2 Sam. 2:4, etc.). Prophets were also anointed (1 Kings 19:16; 1 Chr. 16:22; Ps. 105:15). The expression, "anoint the shield" (Isa. 21:5), refers to the custom of rubbing oil on the leather of the shield so as to make it supple and fit for use in war. (2.) Anointing was also an act of hospitality (Luke 7:38, 46). It was the custom of the Jews in like manner to anoint themselves with oil, as a means of refreshing or invigorating their bodies (Deut. 28:40; Ruth 3:3; 2 Sam. 14:2; Ps. 104:15, etc.). This custom is continued among the Arabians to the present day. (3.) Oil was used also for medicinal purposes. It was applied to the sick, and also to wounds (Ps. 109:18; Isa. 1:6; Mark 6:13; James 5:14). (4.) The bodies of the dead were sometimes anointed (Mark 14:8; Luke 23:56). (5.) The promised Deliverer is twice called the "Anointed" or Messiah (Ps. 2:2; Dan. 9:25, 26), because he was anointed with the Holy Ghost (Isa. 61:1), figuratively styled the "oil of gladness" (Ps. 45:7; Heb. 1:9). Jesus of Nazareth is this anointed One (John 1:41; Acts 9:22; 17:2, 3; 18:5, 28), the Messiah of the Old Testament.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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