arch

noun
\ˈärch \

Definition of arch 

(Entry 1 of 9)

1 : a typically curved structural member spanning an opening and serving as a support (as for the wall or other weight above the opening)

2a : something resembling an arch in form or function especially : either of two vaulted portions of the bony structure of the foot that impart elasticity to it

b : something that has a curved shape like an arch There was a slight arch in her eyebrows. an arch in the cat's back

3 : archway

arch

verb
arched; arching; arches

Definition of arch (Entry 2 of 9)

transitive verb

1 : to cover or provide with an arch A bridge arches the stream.

2 : to form into an arch She arched her eyebrows.

intransitive verb

1 : to form an arch Trees arch above the promenade.

2 : to take an arch-shaped course The ball arched toward the basket.

arch

adjective

Definition of arch (Entry 3 of 9)

1 : principal, chief your arch opponent/rival an arch enemy

2a : mischievous, saucy

b : marked by a deliberate and often forced playfulness, irony, or impudence known for her arch comments … decided to answer them by being teacherly in a sort of arch, Olympian way.— Gerald Early

arch

abbreviation (1)

Definition of arch (Entry 4 of 9)

Arch

abbreviation (2)

Definition of Arch (Entry 5 of 9)

arch-

prefix (1)

Definition of arch- (Entry 6 of 9)

1 : chief : principal archfiend

2 : extreme : most fully embodying the qualities of the kind archconservative

arch-

prefix (2)

Definition of arch- (Entry 7 of 9)

— see archi-

Definition of -arch (Entry 8 of 9)

: ruler : leader matriarch

Definition of -arch (Entry 9 of 9)

: having (such) a point or (so many) points of origin endarch

Illustration of arch

Illustration of arch

Noun

arch 1: 1 round: imp impost, sp springer, v voussoir, k keystone, ext extrados, int intrados; 2 horseshoe; 3 lancet; 4 ogee; 5 trefoil; 6 basket-handle; 7 Tudor

In the meaning defined above

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Other Words from arch

Adjective

archness noun

Did You Know?

Adjective

As a prefix, arch- appears in a number of titles referring to positions of superiority, such as archduke and archbishop. Ultimately deriving (via Latin and French) from the Greek verb archein ("to begin, rule"), it can also mean "chief " (as in archnemesis) or "extreme" (as in archconservative). In the 17th century, as the "extreme" sense of arch came to be used frequently to describe rogues, knaves, and other clever and mischievous sorts, arch eventually settled into use as an adjective to describe one with impish or playful qualities. Use of the word has since extended to describe actions or remarks meant to be ironic, cutting, or condescending.

Examples of arch in a Sentence

Noun

There was a slight arch to her eyebrows. an arch in the cat's back

Verb

The cat arched its back. She arched her eyebrows in surprise. A tree arches over the road. She arched backward to begin the exercise.

Adjective

a politician known for his arch humor The novel is never mocking or arch in its tone.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The couples both stopped upon exiting the church to share a sweet kiss under an arch of white flowers. Kate Storey, Town & Country, "How Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank's Wedding Compares to Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's," 12 Oct. 2018 The arches of a large yellow bridge rested in the water and eerie drone footage showed a Ferris wheel, untouched, on a beach scraped bare by the waves. Niniek Karmini, The Seattle Times, "Desperation everywhere, aid slow to reach Indonesia victims," 1 Oct. 2018 He is allied with Tony Abbott, the arch-conservative former prime minister whom Mr. Turnbull ousted as Liberal leader in 2015 and who is seen as orchestrating a campaign to undermine his successor. Rachel Pannett, WSJ, "The Decade of the Long Knives: Australia’s Leadership Teeters Again," 21 Aug. 2018 The length and shape of the Dikika child’s cuboid bone—the one responsible for making our mid-foot rigid and providing support for the arch of the foot—suggests that A. afarensis had a stiffer mid-foot than apes. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "The road to bipedalism wasn’t straight and narrow," 15 Aug. 2018 Featuring grassy areas, an arch of curved benches, plaques and a brick sign adorned with flowers and flags, the plaza is intended as a haven for residents to relax, reflect, maybe eat lunch and catch up on Facebook. Jim Newton, Lake County News-Sun, "New plaza dedicated for late mayor who 'is reflected in every square inch of Gurnee'," 6 July 2018 The arches of the vertebrae of his spine haven’t closed. Laura Yan, Popular Mechanics, "This Ancient Mummified Bird Is Actually a Mummified Baby," 2 June 2018 Behind them, the slogans of the Women.nyc campaign were projected onto the stone legs of the arch. Eric Lach, The New Yorker, "A Power-Move Pep Talk for New York City Women," 28 May 2018 Post Oak Boulevard's beloved flowers and landscaping will be enhanced and the iconic stainless-steel rings and arches will be preserved as part of the boulevard's transformation. Houston Chronicle, "An Uptown for the 21st Century," 20 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

As your body works to support the weight of your arms and legs, your back naturally wants to arch to alleviate the tension. Jenny Mccoy, SELF, "Why Doing a Hollow Body Hold Like Blake Lively’s Trainer Is So Challenging—Plus, How to Work Up to It," 30 Oct. 2018 Shelvey bent an arching corner into the penalty area, finding Florian Lejeune whose bullet pass across the six yard boss was hammered home by Perez. SI.com, "Newcastle Soars to Win as Blundering Chelsea Misses Out on Champions League," 13 May 2018 Reach back and grasp ankles, arch the back gently for the count of 3, then slowly release and lie flat. Harper's BAZAAR, "Problem Solving Guide for Your Body," 24 Jan. 2014 With Bale’s ties to arch-rivals Tottenham already an obstacle to overcome, the Welshman’s arrival would also mean one of Arsenal’s forwards would have to make way. SI.com, "Report Names Former Rival as Potential Destination for Gareth Bale as Real Exit Looms," 24 Feb. 2018 The leaves are on long, arching stems and are deeply serrated, with leaf petioles having a hot pink hue. Norman Winter, sacbee, "Soon, you’ll be playing that Funky Pink in your displays," 6 July 2018 Some are arched, while others are rectangular, blending traditional with modern design. Joan Walden, courant.com, "Property of the Week: 3 Erica Lane, West Simsbury," 20 July 2017 Rounding or over-arching your back will transfer some of the force onto your spine, which puts you at risk for straining or otherwise injuring your lower back, Tea says. Jenny Mccoy, SELF, "The Difference Between Forward and Reverse Lunges, and How to Choose Which to Do," 2 May 2018 Purple Pixie features arching branches of soft, slender 2-inch long elliptic burgundy leaves. Earl Nickel, SFChronicle.com, "Let this ‘Purple Pixie’ bring a little color to the garden," 29 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Palace did earn promotion, and the loan signing of Dobbie was made all the more sweeter given the fact that he was borrowed from arch rivals Brighton. SI.com, "Emergency Reinforcements: 8 of the Best Loanees in Crystal Palace's Recent Premier League History," 10 May 2018 Real Madrid may have dominated the European stage last season, but domestically arch rivals Barcelona cantered to the La Liga title. SI.com, "Toni Kroos Ends Manchester United Transfer Speculation by Reiterating Contract Promise," 2 July 2018 Sanuk actually uses yoga mats for the footbeds and adds a bit of arch support for structure. Graham Averill, Outside Online, "5 Men's Flip-Flops That Are Perfect for Summer," 2 July 2018 What's on Musk's mind is usually only a check of Twitter away, where he is known for missives that range from arch to tart when Tesla's stumbles are raised. Marco Della Cava, USA TODAY, "Elon Musk and Tesla pull few punches defending pioneering car company, even after accidents," 30 Apr. 2018 The duo now manage arch enemies Manchester City and Manchester United, though their personal rivalry has transformed into mutual respect following a turbulent spell together in Spain a few years back. SI.com, "From Foes to Friends: 7 Rivals Who Put Their Differences Aside," 1 Apr. 2018 By contrast, arch-conservative Justice Clarence Thomas wrote 37 dissents during the same period. Emily Cadei And Michael Doyle, sacbee, "Justice Kennedy played an unexpectedly pivotal role at the Supreme Court," 27 June 2018 There’s vendors doling out the team’s legendary Dodger Dogs, kids munching on some of the aforementioned snacks, and the team’s arch nemesis, the San Diego Padres, filing into the visitor’s dugout. Rob Ledonne, Billboard, "Dodgers Organist Dieter Ruehle Tells the Story Behind His Dream Job," 7 June 2018 Replete with self-consciously arch dialogue, the script often brings to mind a role-playing, late-night improv session by two smart, spliff-toking college students, who are perhaps a bit too pleased with their own wit. Ben Brantley, New York Times, "Review: In the Relationships in ‘Singlet,’ One and One Make One," 20 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'arch.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of arch

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2a

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Adjective

1547, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for arch

Noun

Middle English arche, from Anglo-French, from Vulgar Latin *arca, from Latin arcus — more at arrow

Verb

see arch entry 1

Adjective

arch- entry 1

Prefix (1)

Middle English arche-, arch-, from Old English & Anglo-French; Old English arce-, from Late Latin arch- & Latin archi-; Anglo-French arch-, from Late Latin arch- & Latin archi-, from Greek arch-, archi-, from archein to begin, rule; akin to Greek archē beginning, rule, archos ruler

Noun combining form

Middle English -arche, from Anglo-French & Late Latin & Latin; Anglo-French -arche, from Late Latin -archa, from Latin -arches, -archus, from Greek -archēs, -archos, from archein

Adjective combining form

probably from German, from Greek archē beginning

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Dictionary Entries near arch

Arcellidae

Arceuthobium

arc furnace

arch

Arch

arch-

-arch

Statistics for arch

Last Updated

18 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for arch

The first known use of arch was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for arch

arch

noun

English Language Learners Definition of arch

 (Entry 1 of 4)

: a usually curved part of a structure that is over an opening and that supports a wall or other weight above the opening

: the raised area on the bottom of the foot that is formed by a curved section of bones

: something that has a curved shape

arch

verb

English Language Learners Definition of arch (Entry 2 of 4)

: to bend into the shape of an arch

arch

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of arch (Entry 3 of 4)

: having or showing an amused feeling of being superior to or knowing more than other people

arch-

prefix

English Language Learners Definition of arch- (Entry 4 of 4)

: main or chief

: extreme

arch

noun
\ˈärch \

Kids Definition of arch

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : a usually curved part of a structure that is over an opening and serves as a support (as for the wall above the opening)

2 : something that has a curved shape like an arch the arch of the foot

Other Words from arch

arched \ ˈärcht \ adjective an arched doorway

arch

verb
arched; arching

Kids Definition of arch (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : to form or shape into an arch : curve The cat arched her back.

2 : to cover with an arch Tree branches arched the narrow road.

arch

adjective

Kids Definition of arch (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : chief entry 2 sense 2, principal an arch opponent

2 : being clever and mischievous an arch look

Other Words from arch

archly adverb

arch

noun
\ˈärch \

Medical Definition of arch 

1 : an anatomical structure that resembles an arch in form or function: as

a : either of two vaulted portions of the bony structure of the foot that impart elasticity to it:

(1) : a longitudinal arch supported posteriorly by the basal tuberosity of the calcaneus and anteriorly by the heads of the metatarsal bones

(2) : a transverse arch consisting of the metatarsals and first row of tarsals and resulting from elevation of the central anterior portion of the median longitudinal arch

b : arch of the aorta

2 : a fingerprint in which all the ridges run from side to side and make no backward turn

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