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.
Contemporary Examples

The Prophet Elisha, who allegedly built the synagogue, was said to have anointed King Hazael on its steps, now gone.
Exclusive Photos: Syria’s Oldest Synagogue, Destroyed by Assad Josh Rogin May 26, 2014

Meg Whitman, Carly Fiorina, and Linda McMahon were anointed Tea Party favorites by Sarah Palin.
They Blew Through Millions Gail Sheehy November 11, 2010

Freedom, after all, helped Franzen get anointed by Time as our current “Great American Novelist.”
16 Great Oprah Feuds Sarah Weinman September 15, 2010

For this raid, Mavrokordato anointed him, rather ridiculously, Archistrategos or commander-in-chief of Western Greece.
Poet and Rake, Lord Byron Was Also an Interventionist With Brains and Savvy Michael Weiss February 15, 2014

Those who have been anointed so far have ended up falling completely short.
Forgive Mark Sanford Meghan McCain June 28, 2009

Historical Examples

In cases of obdurate induration, the udder should be anointed with iodine ointment.
Sheep, Swine, and Poultry Robert Jennings

Was not the King the anointed vicegerent of God, who could not be too much honoured?
A History of French Literature Edward Dowden

The king’s mata next selected several dishes of coloured oil, and anointed the warrior from the roots of his hair to his heels.
The Fijians Basil Thomson

Titania, anointed with the juice, falls in love with Bottom.
William Shakespeare John Masefield

The dutiful son moistened a linen cloth with the liquid, and, absorbed in prayer, he anointed the revered face.
The Works of Honor de Balzac Honor de Balzac

verb (transitive)
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

late 14c., “smeared with oil,” past participle adjective from anoint (v.). Noun meaning “a consecrated one” (e.g. Lord’s Anointed) is recorded from 1520s.

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.

The practice of anointing with perfumed oil was common among the Hebrews. (1.) The act of anointing was significant of consecration to a holy or sacred use; hence the anointing of the high priest (Ex. 29:29; Lev. 4:3) and of the sacred vessels (Ex. 30:26). The high priest and the king are thus called “the anointed” (Lev. 4:3, 5, 16; 6:20; Ps. 132:10). Anointing a king was equivalent to crowning him (1 Sam. 16:13; 2 Sam. 2:4, etc.). Prophets were also anointed (1 Kings 19:16; 1 Chr. 16:22; Ps. 105:15). The expression, “anoint the shield” (Isa. 21:5), refers to the custom of rubbing oil on the leather of the shield so as to make it supple and fit for use in war. (2.) Anointing was also an act of hospitality (Luke 7:38, 46). It was the custom of the Jews in like manner to anoint themselves with oil, as a means of refreshing or invigorating their bodies (Deut. 28:40; Ruth 3:3; 2 Sam. 14:2; Ps. 104:15, etc.). This custom is continued among the Arabians to the present day. (3.) Oil was used also for medicinal purposes. It was applied to the sick, and also to wounds (Ps. 109:18; Isa. 1:6; Mark 6:13; James 5:14). (4.) The bodies of the dead were sometimes anointed (Mark 14:8; Luke 23:56). (5.) The promised Deliverer is twice called the “Anointed” or Messiah (Ps. 2:2; Dan. 9:25, 26), because he was anointed with the Holy Ghost (Isa. 61:1), figuratively styled the “oil of gladness” (Ps. 45:7; Heb. 1:9). Jesus of Nazareth is this anointed One (John 1:41; Acts 9:22; 17:2, 3; 18:5, 28), the Messiah of the Old Testament.


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