Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A heavy block of iron or steel with a smooth, flat top on which metals are shaped by hammering.
  • n. Something resembling an anvil, as in shape or function.
  • n. The fixed jaw in a set of calipers against which an object to be measured is placed.
  • n. Anatomy See incus.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A heavy iron block used in the blacksmithing trade as a surface upon which metal can be struck and shaped.
  • n. An incus bone in the inner ear.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An iron block, usually with a steel face, upon which metals are hammered and shaped.
  • n. Anything resembling an anvil in shape or use.
  • transitive v. To form or shape on an anvil; to hammer out.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To form or shape on an anvil.
  • n. An iron block with a smooth face, usually of steel, on which metals are hammered and shaped.
  • n. Figuratively, anything on which blows are struck.
  • n. In anatomy, one of the small bones of the ear, the incus (which see). See cuts under ear and tympanic.
  • n. In firearms, the resisting cone, plate, or bar against which the fulminate in a metallic cartridge is exploded. Wilhelm, Mil. Dict.
  • n. Milit., a small pennon on the end of a lance.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a heavy block of iron or steel on which hot metals are shaped by hammering
  • n. the ossicle between the malleus and the stapes

Etymologies

Middle English anfilt, from Old English.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Middle English anfilt, anvelt, from late Old English anfilte, anfealt, from earlier onfilti, from Proto-Germanic *anafeltaz (compare Middle Dutch anvilte, Low German Anfilts, Anefilt, Old High German anafalz), compound of *ana (“on”) + *feltaz (“beaten”) (compare German falzen ("to groove, fold, welt"), Swedish dialect filta ‘to beat'), from Proto-Indo-European *pelh₂-t- (“shaken, beaten”) (compare Irish lethar ("leather"), Latin pultō, pulsō ("to beat, strike"), Ancient Greek pállein ‘to toss, brandish’), enlargement of *pelh₂- (“to stir, move”). More at felon. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • In lieu of Baum’s timeless story, the bulk of the movie finds the star in anvil-subtle slapstick situations: getting stung in the rear by animated bees, being spit upon by a duck, falling down a hole, not realizing the phony Cowardly Lion was replaced by a real beast, etc.

    Current Movie Reviews, Independent Movies - Film Threat

  • April 14th, 2006 at 7: 59 pm banana says: anvil is an example of why i’m not into organized religion. it’s a bunch of B.S. lies to control your actions anyway. these wacked out christians are no different than the wacked out muslims who believe in the lies told them about the 70 virgins. just look at eric rudolph.

    Think Progress » New Report: Rumsfeld ‘Personally Involved’ In Torture Allegations at Gitmo

  • Bush and Rummy have been telling us it’s a war against terror – are they lying to us again anvil?

    Think Progress » New Report: Rumsfeld ‘Personally Involved’ In Torture Allegations at Gitmo

  • Meteorologist Dave Henan (ph) tells me, Wolf, the plane could very well have been hit by one of these bolts, or even triggered lightning itself by passing through a cumulus or so-called anvil crowd.

    CNN Transcript Jul 9, 2008

  • Now the reality was in my hold, I only felt that I was dusty with the dust of small – coal, and that I had a weight upon my daily remembrance to which the anvil was a feather.

    Great Expectations

  • I want you to listen to a brief moment from a documentary which I did called the anvil of God about the battle of Fallujah talking about the value of snipers.

    CNN Transcript Sep 30, 2007

  • Right now, the weather is great, but in the afternoon, they're concerned that these thunderstorms are going to move in, these so - called anvil clouds, which could contain rain or lightning, which could dangerous for the shuttle to launch.

    CNN Transcript Jun 30, 2006

  • And in that disk, they can't have thunderstorms reported or those so-called anvil clouds, which essentially are a thunder head buildup that has kind of gotten the head of it sheered off.

    CNN Transcript Jul 1, 2006

  • But as we say, we are watching very closely the storms clouds, convective activity as they say -- so-called anvil clouds which are sheared off thunder clouds.

    CNN Transcript Jul 1, 2006

  • That not necessarily a no go situation, but we do have reports of so-called anvil clouds, about 25 miles from the shuttle landing facility.

    CNN Transcript Jul 17, 2006

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