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1. Nautical A large extra anchor intended for use in an emergency.
2. A source of aid in time of emergency or danger.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
1. (Nautical Terms) nautical a large strong anchor for use in emergency
2. a person or thing to be relied upon in an emergency
[C17: from earlier shute anker, from shoot (obsolete) the sheet of a sail]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014