an act of anointing, especially as a medical treatment or religious rite.
an unguent or ointment; salve.
something soothing or comforting.
an excessive, affected, sometimes cloying earnestness or fervor in manner, especially in speaking.
the oil used in religious rites, as in anointing the sick or dying.
the shedding of a divine or spiritual influence upon a person.
the influence shed.
the manifestation of spiritual or religious inspiration.

1350–1400; Middle English unctioun < Latin ūnctiōn (stem of ūnctiō) anointing, besmearing, equivalent to ūnct(us) (past participle of ung(u)ere to smear, anoint) + -iōn- -ion

unctionless, adjective
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
unction (ˈʌŋkʃən)
1.  chiefly RC Church, Eastern Churches the act of anointing with oil in sacramental ceremonies, in the conferring of holy orders
2.  excessive suavity or affected charm
3.  an ointment or unguent
4.  anything soothing or comforting
[C14: from Latin unctiō an anointing, from ungere to anoint; see unguent]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

late 14c., "act of anointing as a religious rite," from L. unctionem (nom. unctio) "anointing," from unctus, pp. of ungere "to anoint" (see unguent).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

unction unc·tion (ŭngk'shən)
The action of applying or rubbing with an ointment or oil.

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

Unction definition

(1 John 2:20,27; R.V., "anointing"). Kings, prophets, and priests were anointed, in token of receiving divine grace. All believers are, in a secondary sense, what Christ was in a primary sense, "the Lord's anointed."

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Encyclopedia Britannica


ritual application of oil or fat to the head or body of a person or to an object; an almost universal practice in the history of religions, although both the cultic practice followed and the sacred substance employed vary from one religion to another. It is possible to recognize three distinct, though not separate, meanings ascribed to ritual anointments by the devotees of various religions

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
He speaks of chrism as a holy thing, and of the unction that was used at baptism.
Preserve the grace of the holy baptism, and the unction of the chrism.
At nine o'clock the same evening she desired and received extreme unction.
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