Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The act of anointing as part of a religious, ceremonial, or healing ritual.
  • noun An ointment or oil; a salve.
  • noun Something that serves to soothe; a balm.
  • noun Affected or exaggerated earnestness, especially in choice and use of language.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The act of anointing, smearing, or rubbing with an unguent, ointment, or oil.
  • noun Especially— Anointing as a symbol of consecration, dedication, or appointment to an important office. The practice of unction in religious ceremouials existed in the Christian church at a very early day, as well as in the Jewish church, and has been continued to the present time in the Roman Catholic, Greek, and some other churches. In Christian usage it includes the unction of catechumens both before and after baptism, of candidates at confirmation, of the clergy at ordination, of the sick, of kings at their coronation, and of various articles dedicated to a sacred use. The practice is not continued in Protestant churches. See chrism, and holy oil (under oil).
  • noun Anointing for medical purposes.
  • noun That which is used for anointing; an unguent; an ointment; a salve.
  • noun Hence Anything that is soothing or lenitive.
  • noun In speech, that quality in the words used, tone of expression, or mode of address which excites devotion, fervor, tenderness, sympathy, and the like in the hearer; especially, those qualities which induce religious fervor and tenderness.
  • noun Emotional warmth; gush; specifically, simulated fervor, devotion, or sympathy; counterfeited sentiment; nauseous sentimentality.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun The act of anointing, smearing, or rubbing with an unguent, oil, or ointment, especially for medical purposes, or as a symbol of consecration.
  • noun That which is used for anointing; an unguent; an ointment; hence, anything soothing or lenitive.
  • noun rare Divine or sanctifying grace.
  • noun That quality in language, address, or the like, which excites emotion; especially, strong devotion; religious fervor and tenderness; sometimes, a simulated, factitious, or unnatural fervor.
  • noun (R. C. Ch. & Gr. Ch.), [James v. 14, 15.] the sacrament of anointing in the last hours; the application of consecrated oil by a priest to all the senses, that is, to eyes, ears, nostrils, etc., of a person when in danger of death from illness, -- done for remission of sins.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun a salve or ointment
  • noun a religious or ceremonial anointing
  • noun a balm or something that soothes
  • noun a smug, exaggerated use of language; smarminess

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

  • noun smug self-serving earnestness
  • noun semisolid preparation (usually containing a medicine) applied externally as a remedy or for soothing an irritation
  • noun anointing as part of a religious ceremony or healing ritual
  • noun excessive but superficial compliments given with affected charm

Etymologies

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

[Middle English, from Latin ūnctiō, ūnctiōn-, from ūnctus, past participle of unguere, to anoint.]

Examples

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