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[an-vil] /ˈæn vɪl/
a heavy iron block with a smooth face, frequently of steel, on which metals, usually heated until soft, are hammered into desired shapes.
anything having a similar form or use.
the fixed jaw in certain measuring instruments.
Also called anvil cloud, anvil top. Meteorology, incus (def 2).
a musical percussion instrument having steel bars that are struck with a wooden or metal beater.
Anatomy, incus (def 1).
Origin of anvil
before 900; Middle English anvelt, anfelt, Old English anfilt(e), anfealt; cognate with Middle Dutch anvilte, Old High German anafalz. See on, felt2 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for anvil
  • The anvil is simply a hardwood surface that supports the piece as you hammer it.
  • She is an anvil that will send his campaign into the depths of political history, never to rise again.
  • Hot coals glowed in a dark interior, where a craftsman was bent over an anvil hammering silver.
  • anvil is a synthetic compound that resembles a naturally occurring insecticide found in chrysanthemums.
  • Once a shield, litigation has been beaten into a sword on the anvil of cash.
  • It shows, you know, an abdication of our responsibility to want to push the anvil upon science.
  • Yes, it was sad there was no splitting of the anvil in two.
  • With a rock as a hammer and a log as an anvil, he bashed each lechuguilla leaf, bruising it.
  • Diamond anvil cells squeeze a material to intense pressures, and laser pulses heat it to unimaginable temperatures.
  • Uh oh, the vibrations from typing that last sentence seem to have jarred loose the anvil.
British Dictionary definitions for anvil


a heavy iron or steel block on which metals are hammered during forging
any part having a similar shape or function, such as the lower part of a telegraph key
the fixed jaw of a measurement device against which the piece to be measured is held
(anatomy) the nontechnical name for incus
Word Origin
Old English anfealt; related to Old High German anafalz, Middle Dutch anvilte; see on, felt²
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 anvil

Old English anfilt, a West Germanic compound (cf. Middle Dutch anvilt, Old High German anafalz, Dutch aanbeeld, Danish ambolt "anvil") from *ana- "on" + *filtan "hit" (see felt (n.)). The ear bone so called from 1680s. Anvil Chorus is based on the "Gypsy Song" that opens Act II of Giuseppe Verdi's opera "Il Trovatore," first performed in Teatro Apollo, Rome, Jan. 19, 1853.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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anvil in Medicine

anvil an·vil (ān'vĭl)
See incus.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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anvil in the Bible

the rendering of the Hebrew word , "beaten," found only in Isa. 41:7.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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