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Anti-aircraft shells being loaded into a furnace to be annealed, February 1942, collection of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, National Archives and Record Administration


From Middle English anelen, onelen, from Old English onǣlan (to burn, ignite, set fire to, consume, heat, enlighten, incite, inflame, inspire, kindle), from Proto-Germanic *ana (on) + Proto-Germanic *ailijaną (to burn), from Proto-Indo-European *h₂eydʰ- (to burn).

The word is related to Old English onāl (that which is burnt, burning; incense), Old English āl (fire, burning), Icelandic eldur (fire), Swedish eld (fire, flame), Danish ild (fire).


  • IPA(key): /əˈniːl/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -iːl
  • Hyphenation: an‧neal


anneal (third-person singular simple present anneals, present participle annealing, simple past and past participle annealed)

  1. (metallurgy) To subject to great heat and then (often slow) cooling, and sometimes reheating and further cooling, for the purpose of rendering less brittle; to temper; to toughen.
    • 1812 March 7, O. E., “The Process of Making Iron Wire”, in H[ezekiah] Niles, editor, The Weekly Register, volume II, number 27, Baltimore, Md.: Printed and published by the editor, at the Franklin Press, South-Street, next door to the Merchants' Coffee-House, →OCLC, page 9:
      The best tough soft iron, such as will weld round, is drawn into rods by smiths, using charcoal fires, and taking welding heats every time, the rod is about 1.4 inch diameter, 9 or 10 feet long, containing 4lbs. each, tapered at each end to a long point; they are first anealed by being brought to a bright red heat, in a furnace excluding the air as much as possible, for if the air can be entirely excluded, no scab will rise in anealing; []
    • 1887, C. Barus, V[incenc] Strouhal, “The Effect of Sudden Cooling Exhibited by Glass and by Steel, Considered both Physically and Chemically”, in Report of Work Done in the Division of Chemistry and Physics Mainly During the Fiscal Year 1885–'86 (Bulletins of the United States Geological Survey; no. 42; 50th Congress, 2d session, House of Representatives Miscellaneous Documents; no. 137), volume VII, Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, published 1889, →OCLC, page 123:
      On closer inspection it appeared that steel annealed at 100° is, cæteris paribus, more easily soluble than glass hard steel; steel annealed at 200° more easily soluble than steel annealed at 100°, and steel annealed at 360° more easily soluble than steel annealed at 200°. [] These curious results were substantiated by annealing one-half of short glass hard rods (ca. 5cm in length) at red heat on dissolving in HCl, the diameter of the soft length is diminished more rapidly than the diameter of the hard length.
    • 1970, James W[alter] Mayer, Lennart Eriksson, John A[rthur] Davies, “General Features of Ion Implantation”, in Ion Implantation in Semiconductors: Silicon and Germanium, New York, N.Y.: Academic Press, →OCLC, page 5:
      The isolated disordered regions and the amorphous layer have widely different anneal behavior. In the case of germanium and silicon, the isolated disordered regions anneal at moderate temperatures of approximately 200° and 300° C, respectively. The amorphous layers also anneal in a characteristic fashion, but at appreciably higher temperatures, i.e., at approximately 600° C in silicon and 400° C in germanium. It should be noted that even though both types of disorder can be annealed at temperatures well below those where diffusion of the dopant species occurs, there are still defects present.
    • 1979, J.G. Ballard, The Unlimited Dream Company, chapter 30:
      I felt his strong bones anneal themselves to my own, his blood vent its bright tide into my veins, the semen of his testicles foam as it dashed in a torrent against mine.
    • 2010, Kate McKinnon, Sculptural Metal Clay Jewelry: Techniques and Explorations, Loveland, Colo.: Interweave Press, →ISBN, page 27:
      A properly made, fully sintered and fully annealed metal clay piece should be able to stand up to any traditional metalsmithing technique.
  2. To cool glass slowly, to minimize internal stress.
  3. (archaic) To burn colors onto a glass or other surface.
    • 1706, John Potter, “Of the Parts, Ornaments, &c. of Ships”, in Archæologia Græca: Or, The Antiquities of Greece, 2nd augmented and improved edition, volume II (Containing I. The Military Affairs of the Grecians. II. Some of Their Miscellany Customs), London: Printed for S[amuel] and J[ohn] Sprint, at the Bell; and John Nicholson, at the King's-Arms, in Little-Britain; and for Timothy Child, at the White-Hart, in St. Paul's Church-Yard, →OCLC, page 127:
      It was customary to beautify the Prow with Gold, and various ſorts of Paint and Colours: [] Several other Colours were alſo made uſe of, nor were they barely varniſh'd over with them, but very often anneal'd by Wax melted in the Fire, ſo as neither the Sun, Winds, or Water were able to deface them.
    • 1793, John Dryden, “XII. On the Monument of a Fair Maiden Lady, who Died at Bath, and is there Interred”, in The Poetical Works of John Dryden, Esq. [...] To which is Prefixed the Life of the Author (A Complete Edition of the Poets of Great Britain; VI (London: Printed for Iohn and Arthur Arch, 23 Gracechurch Street; and for Bell & Bradfute and I. Mundell & Co. Edinburgh)), Edinburgh: Printed by Mundell and Son, Royal Bank Close, →OCLC, page 164:
      Such were the features of her heavenly Face, / Her limbs were form'd with ſuch harmonious grace: / So faultleſs was the frame, as if the whole / Had been an emanation of the ſoul; / Which her own inward ſymmetry reveal'd; / And like a picture ſhone, in glaſs anneal'd.
  4. (genetics, transitive, intransitive) To make a double-stranded nucleic acid by pairing a single strand with a complementary strand.
    • 2007, Celine I. Maeder, Peter Maier, Michael Knop, “A Guided Tour to PCR-based Genomic Manipulations of S. Cerevisiae (PCR-targeting)”, in Ian Stansfield, Michael J. R. Stark, editors, Yeast Gene Analysis (Methods in Microbiology; 36), 2nd edition, London: Academic Press, →ISBN, →ISSN, page 68:
      The 5′ junction is checked using a target gene-specific primer of ~21 nucleotides, which anneals upstream of the cassette integration site, together with a primer which anneals downstream of the first loxP site in the PCR cassette.
  5. (figurative, archaic or poetic) To strengthen or harden.
    The experience annealed them, strengthening their resolve.

Alternative forms[edit]




anneal (plural anneals)

  1. (chemistry, metallurgy) An act of annealing.
    • 1958 October 3, William V. Johnston, The Effect of Transients and Longer-time Anneals on Irradiated Uranium-zirconium Alloys (AEC Research and Development Report; KAPL; 1965), Schenectady, N.Y.: Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory, General Electric Company, page xiii:
      Additional information obtained from counting krypton-85 released during the anneals shows that only fractions of a per cent of the theoretical amount of gas are released []
    • 1994, D. M. Lee, D. Ruprecht, D. Hymes, W. Huber, “Surface Characterization of Heat Treated Silicon Wafers”, in H[oward] R. Huff, W. Bergholz, K[ōji] Sumino, editors, Semiconductor Silicon/1994: Proceedings of the Seventh International Symposium on Silicon Materials Science and Technology (Electronics Division Proceedings; 94-10), The Electrochemical Society, →ISBN, page 241:
      In contrast, our work showed that the 100% hydrogen anneal (1160°C for 45 min) led to a defect-free, atomically smooth surface. It should be noted that a high temperature anneal in Ar, H2, or high vacuum is a well established pre-epitaxial growth step by which a native oxide film is removed to obtain a good quality epitaxial layer [].
    • 1999, C. Y. Kung, F. C. Tsuy, H. M. Lee, S. C. Lee, “The Effect of the Nucleation Temperature on the Variation of the Microstructure of Cz Silicon after Two- and Three-step Anneals”, in T. Abe et al., editors, Proceedings of the Third International Symposium on Defects in Silicon (Electronics Division Proceedings; 99-1), Pennington, N.J.: The Electrochemical Society, →ISBN, page 291:
      In the two-step anneal, the low temperature (nucleation) anneal was conducted at 450°C, 650°C, 750°C, or 850°C for various times. Following the low temperature anneal, the samples were heat treated at 1000°C for a total cumulative anneal time of 40 h. All anneals were carried out in a dry nitrogen ambient environment.

Further reading[edit]