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sheet anchor

Nautical. a large anchor used only in cases of emergency.
a final reliance or resource, as when in danger.
Origin of sheet anchor
1485-95 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for sheet-anchor
Historical Examples
  • It is in truth the sheet-anchor of our connection with France, which will be much loosened when that is lost.

  • To those who had been with him before he was like a sheet-anchor in a storm.

    Charles Frohman: Manager and Man Isaac Frederick Marcosson and Daniel Frohman
  • The vessel had four anchors; the sheet-anchor, the second or working anchor, and two bower-anchors.

    Toilers of the Sea Victor Hugo
  • The belief which had been her sheet-anchor in hoping for forgiveness had proved false.

    A Pair of Blue Eyes Thomas Hardy
  • Here is the sheet-anchor, he said, pulling his little Bible from his pocket, the Word of God.

    The Young Trawler R.M. Ballantyne
  • His Irish experience continued to be the sheet-anchor of his ascendency with the Queen.

    Sir Walter Ralegh William Stebbing
  • I promised, and dropped asleep, holding on to Tom as if he was my sheet-anchor.

  • He was like to become the sheet-anchor, the arbiter, the referee.

    A Young Man's Year Anthony Hope
  • When this was accomplished, however, it was so effectually done as to render the hold even greater than that of the sheet-anchor.

    The Crater James Fenimore Cooper
  • Since his sheet-anchor had come home, Mr. Gradgrind had been sparing of speech.

    Hard Times Charles Dickens
British Dictionary definitions for sheet-anchor

sheet anchor

(nautical) a large strong anchor for use in emergency
a person or thing to be relied upon in an emergency
Word Origin
C17: from earlier shute anker, from shoot (obsolete) the sheet of a sail
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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