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.
- 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
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.