1. The act of anointing as part of a religious, ceremonial, or healing ritual.
2. An ointment or oil; a salve.
3. Something that serves to soothe; a balm.
4. Affected or exaggerated earnestness, especially in choice and use of language.
[Middle English, from Latin ūnctiō, ūnctiōn-, from ūnctus, past participle of unguere, to anoint.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.