Definition for AN'CHOR

AN'CHOR, n. [L. anchora; Gr. αγκυρα; It. and Port. ancora; Sp. ancla; D. G. Dan. anker; Sw. anchare; Ir. ankaire, ancoir or ingir; Corn. ankar; Ar. ankar; Pers. anghar; Russ. iacor; Fr. ancre; Arm. ancor.]

  1. An iron instrument for holding a ship or other vessel at rest in water. It is a strong shank, with a ring at one end, to which a cable may be fastened; and with two arms and flukes at the other end, forming a suitable angle with the shank to enter the ground. In seaman's language, the anchor comes home, when it is dislodged from its bed, so as to drag by the violence of the wind, sea or current. Foul anchor is when the anchor hooks or is entangled with another anchor, or with a wreck or cable, or when the slack cable is entangled. The anchor a cock bill, is when it is suspended perpendicularly from the cat head, ready to be let go. The anchor a peek, is when it is drawn in so tight as to bring the ship directly over it. The anchor is a trip, or a weigh, when it is just drawn out of the ground, in a perpendicular direction, either by the cable or the buoy-rope. To back an anchor is to lay 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. At anchor is when a ship rides by her anchor. Hence, to lie, or ride at anchor. To cast anchor, or to anchor, is to let go an anchor, to keep a ship at rest. To weigh anchor is to heave or raise the anchor out of the ground. Anchors are of different sizes. The principal, and that on which most dependence is placed, is the sheet anchor. Then come the best bower, the small bower, the spare anchor, the stream anchor, and the kedge anchor, which is the smallest. – Mar. Dict.
  2. In a figurative sense, that which gives stability or security; that on which we place dependence for safety. Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast. – Heb. vi.
  3. In architecture, anchors are carved work, somewhat resembling an anchor. It is commonly a part of the ornaments of the boultins of capitals in the Tuscan, Doric and Ionic orders, and on the moldings of cornices. In heraldry, anchors are emblems of hope. – Encyc.

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