anvil
Pronunciation
  • (America) IPA: /ˈæn.vəl/, /ˈæn.vɪl/
  • (British) IPA: /ˈæn.vɪl/
Noun

anvil (plural anvils)

  1. A heavy iron block used in the blacksmithing trade as a surface upon which metal can be struck and shaped.
    • 1594, Christopher Marlowe, Edward II (play), Act I, Scene 4,
      My heart is as an anvil unto sorrow,
      Which beats upon it like the Cyclops’ hammers […]
    • c. 1596, William Shakespeare, King John (play), Act IV, Scene 2,
      I saw a smith stand with his hammer, thus,
      The whilst his iron did on the anvil cool,
      With open mouth swallowing a tailor’s news […]
    • 1794, William Blake, “The Tyger,” lines 15-16,
      What the anvil? what dread grasp / Dare its deadly terrors clasp?
    • 1840, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, “The Village Blacksmith” in Ballads and Other Poems, Cambridge, Mass.: John Owens, 2nd edition, 1842, p. 102,
      Thus at the flaming forge of life
      Our fortunes must be wrought;
      Thus on its sounding anvil shaped
      Each burning deed and thought!
    • 1875–1876, Gerard Manley Hopkins, “The Wreck of the Deutschland”, in Robert Bridges, editor, Poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins: Now First Published […], London: Humphrey Milford, published 1918, OCLC 5093462 ↗, part 1, stanza 10, page 14 ↗:
      With an anvil-ding / And with fire in him forge thy will / Or rather, rather then, stealing as Spring / Through him, melt him but master him still: {{...}
  2. (skeleton) An incus bone in the middle ear.
  3. A stone or other hard surface used by a bird for breaking the shells of snails.
  4. The non-moving surface of a micrometer against which the item to be measured is placed.
Translations Translations Verb

anvil (anvils, present participle anvilling; past and past participle anvilled)

  1. To fashion on an anvil (often used figuratively).
    • 1648, Abraham Cowley, The Foure Ages of England, or, The Iron Age with Other Select Poems, London, Postscript,
      I Have anvil’d out this Iron Age,
      Which I commit, not to your patronage,
      But skill and Art […]
    • 1671, John Ogilby (translator), Atlas Chinensis, London, “A Third Embassy to the Emperor of China and East-Tartary,” p. 291,
      The Family Tang caus’d an Iron Pillar to be erected there of three Rods high, and of a proportionable thickness, Anvil’d out of an intire Piece.
    • 1748, Samuel Richardson, Clarissa, London, Volume 7, Letter 92, p. 341,
      I never started a roguery, that did not come out of thy forge in a manner ready anvilled and hammered for execution […]



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