verb (used with object)

  1. to rub or sprinkle on; apply an unguent, ointment, or oily liquid to.
  2. to smear with any liquid.
  3. to consecrate or make sacred in a ceremony that includes the token applying of oil: He anointed the new high priest.
  4. to dedicate to the service of God.

verb (tr)

  1. to smear or rub over with oil or an oily liquid
  2. to apply oil to as a sign of consecration or sanctification in a sacred rite

v.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.

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