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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Anchor \An"chor\ ([a^][ng]"k[~e]r), n. [OE. anker, AS. ancor, oncer, L. ancora, sometimes spelt anchora, fr. Gr. 'a`gkyra, akin to E. angle: cf. F. ancre. See Angle, n.]

  1. A iron instrument which is attached to a ship by a cable (rope or chain), and which, being cast overboard, lays hold of the earth by a fluke or hook and thus retains the ship in a particular station.

    Note: The common anchor consists of a straight bar called a shank, having at one end a transverse bar called a stock, above which is a ring for the cable, and at the other end the crown, from which branch out two or more arms with flukes, forming with the shank a suitable angle to enter the ground.

    Note: Formerly the largest and strongest anchor was the sheet anchor (hence, Fig., best hope or last refuge), called also waist anchor. Now the bower and the sheet anchor are usually alike. Then came the best bower and the small bower (so called from being carried on the bows). The stream anchor is one fourth the weight of the bower anchor. Kedges or kedge anchors are light anchors used in warping.

  2. Any instrument or contrivance serving a purpose like that of a ship's anchor, as an arrangement of timber to hold a dam fast; a contrivance to hold the end of a bridge cable, or other similar part; a contrivance used by founders to hold the core of a mold in place.

  3. Fig.: That which gives stability or security; that on which we place dependence for safety.

    Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul.
    --Heb. vi. 19.

  4. (Her.) An emblem of hope.

  5. (Arch.)

    1. A metal tie holding adjoining parts of a building together.

    2. Carved work, somewhat resembling an anchor or arrowhead; -- a part of the ornaments of certain moldings. It is seen in the echinus, or egg-and-anchor (called also egg-and-dart, egg-and-tongue) ornament.

  6. (Zo["o]l.) One of the anchor-shaped spicules of certain sponges; also, one of the calcareous spinules of certain Holothurians, as in species of Synapta.

    6. (Television) an achorman, anchorwoman, or anchorperson.

    Anchor ice. See under Ice.

    Anchor light See the vocabulary.

    Anchor ring. (Math.) Same as Annulus, 2 (b).

    Anchor shot See the vocabulary.

    Anchor space See the vocabulary.

    Anchor stock (Naut.), the crossbar at the top of the shank at right angles to the arms.

    Anchor watch See the vocabulary.

    The anchor comes home, when it drags over the bottom as the ship drifts.

    Foul anchor, the anchor when it hooks, or is entangled with, another anchor, or with a cable or wreck, or when the slack cable entangled.

    The anchor is acockbill, when it is suspended perpendicularly from the cathead, ready to be let go.

    The anchor is apeak, when the cable is drawn in so tight as to bring to ship directly over it.

    The anchor is atrip, or aweigh, when it is lifted out of the ground.

    The anchor is awash, when it is hove up to the surface of the water.

    At anchor, anchored.

    To back an anchor, to increase the holding power by laying down a small anchor ahead of that by which the ship rides, with the cable fastened to the crown of the latter to prevent its coming home.

    To cast anchor, to drop or let go an anchor to keep a ship at rest.

    To cat the anchor, to hoist the anchor to the cathead and pass the ring-stopper.

    To fish the anchor, to hoist the flukes to their resting place (called the bill-boards), and pass the shank painter.

    To weigh anchor, to heave or raise the anchor so as to sail away.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

"raised, perpendicular," 1620s, nautical, from a- (1) + weigh.


a. Just drawn out of the ground, and hanging perpendicularly; atrip; said of the anchor.

  1. adj. (used of an anchor) hanging clear of the bottom; "anchors aweigh"

  2. of an anchor; just clear of the bottom [syn: atrip]

Usage examples of "aweigh".

The band used up its repertoire, and was beginning again on Anchors Aweigh, when all the cohorts of Johnson, John Jay, and Furnald reached their places.

Willie played the closing bars of Anchors Aweigh fortissimo, banged the piano shut, and ran out.

The anchor was "aweigh", meaning it was off the bottom, when in effect it was being weighed by the cable.

More scraping from Harris's fiddle, more clanking of the pawls, more encouraging calls to the men from Southwick, which Ramage could hear quite clearly, and then the master's hail that the cable was "up and down", which meant that the anchor was just about to lift off the bottom, and, a few clanks later, the report: "Anchor is aweigh, sir.

A rattan cracked across a man's shoulders, and from forward came the call, "Anchor's aweigh!

White-coated boys were still passing drinks and huddled Navy officers were bawling "Anchors Aweigh," for their team had won.

Bolitho had to jump clear as the foresail was broken free and started to billow into the wind, only to be knocked aside again as Pyke yelled, `Anchor's aweigh, sir!