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An anvil



From Middle English anfilt, anvelt, anfelt, from late Old English anfilt, anfilte, anfealt, from earlier onfilti (anvil), 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 Old Irish lethar (leather), Latin pellō (to beat, strike), Ancient Greek πάλλω (pállō, to toss, brandish)), enlargement of Proto-Indo-European *pelh₂- (to stir, move). More at felon.


anvil (plural anvils)

  1. A heavy iron block used in the blacksmithing trade as a surface upon which metal can be struck and shaped.
    • 1794, William Blake, The Tyger, lines 15-16 (for syntax)
      What the anvil? what dread grasp / Dare its deadly terrors clasp?
  2. (anatomy) An incus bone in the inner ear.
  3. A stone or other hard surface used by a bird for breaking the shells of snails.


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