arch

noun
\ ˈärch How to pronounce arch (audio) \

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
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

At the top, six overlapping steel arches would rise above each side of the tower to form a crowning parabolic dome. Jonathan Schifman, Popular Mechanics, "A Friendship Turned to Rivalry. A Feud That Changed the New York Skyline.," 27 Mar. 2019 Today, traboules provide a hide-and-seek opportunity to discover pastel courtyards, lovely loggias and delicate arches. Rick Steves' Europe, The Seattle Times, "Loving Lyon: France’s culinary capital is off the tourist path," 20 Feb. 2019 This handsome house in north-central Detroit still has original carved plaster scenes on its walls and Pewabic tile arches over the bathtubs. Judy Rose, Detroit Free Press, "House Envy: Sherwood Forest home mirrors another place and time," 28 Apr. 2018 The architectural style of the bathhouses themselves was formal and atavistic, with marble walls, high arches, domed ceilings and mosaic floors. New York Times, "In Search of Lost Time in Europe’s Sanatoriums," 18 Feb. 2018 Photo provided by the city of Eagle Romanesque Revival buildings can include a variable stone and brick facade, heavy stone or thick masonry walls and semicircle arches. John Sowell, idahostatesman, "In Eagle, style matters — here are the design styles allowed for use in the city," 18 Jan. 2018 Rome Michelangelo’s perfectly proportioned Piazza del Campidoglio, home to Rome’s City Hall, puts you at the top of history’s most remarkable junk heap—the glorious if crumbling marble arches and columns of the Roman Forum. William Sertl, WSJ, "Brief, Breezy and Foolproof Itineraries to 6 European Cities," 16 Jan. 2019 Mission-style architecture drew inspiration from the myriad churches built by Spanish settlers in California, and could be spotted by their use of arches and bell towers. Maggie Burch, House Beautiful, "What Is Spanish Colonial Design? Everything To Know About California's Popular Style," 13 Nov. 2018 To make matters worse, two weeks after our trip, one of the most famous of Moab’s arches collapsed. Anne Slowey, Condé Nast Traveler, "Fear and Self-Loathing in the American Southwest," 25 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Caught by cameras mid-clap, eyebrows seemingly arched just so, the Speaker managed to convey so much more than the usual rote welcome. Vogue, "Nancy Pelosi Makes Meme Gold at the State of the Union," 6 Feb. 2019 Peter’s arch nemesis Captain Hook will be played by James Konicek, who also portrays Mr. Darling. Kt Hawbaker, chicagotribune.com, "Chicago Shakes announces casting for this summer's 'Peter Pan: A Musical Adventure'," 25 May 2018 In other words, this move can help people who tend to over-arch their backs during exercise (a common mistake that can lead to injury), by encouraging them to keep their pelvis in a neutral position. Jenny Mccoy, SELF, "Gymnast Nastia Liukin Works Her Core, Hips, and Glutes With This Exercise," 7 Aug. 2018 Wooden doors accent the light stucco exterior walls and are sometimes arched, mimicked by arched doorways inside the homes. Maggie Burch, House Beautiful, "What Is Spanish Colonial Design? Everything To Know About California's Popular Style," 13 Nov. 2018 For hours starting at 7 A.M., a sea of pink bobbing heads of all genders and ages, arching arms, and flutter kicks can be seen moving like a school of fish, stride by stride, across waves and around rocks and jagged bends. Kate Branch, Vogue, "How Taking Up Swimming Helped One Stressed New Yorker Learn to Manage Her Anxiety," 31 Aug. 2018 These measurements of the slithering, arching, intertwining magnetic fields of the sun could help solve the solar mysteries that have plagued particle physicists for decades. Jay Bennett, Popular Mechanics, "The New Science of the Sun Will Be Astounding—And Possibly Terrifying," 9 Aug. 2018 In this positioning, your shoulders should be directly above your hips and your chest should be upright (a slight forward lean is OK, as long as your back is flat and not arched or rounded forward). Jenny Mccoy, SELF, "All You Need Is a Pair of Socks to Do This 15-Minute Total-Body Workout From Carrie Underwood’s Trainer," 13 Dec. 2018 And like Zhang, Cao makes botanical paintings — eloquent renderings of red lotus blossoms on long, arching stems. Cate Mcquaid, BostonGlobe.com, "Cao Jun: the dance and the chance of it," 28 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

And could Kingpin be making a reprise as Matt's arch nemesis? Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Matt Murdock is back and darker than ever in new trailer for Daredevil season 3," 21 Sep. 2018 Last night literally standing in front of the White House, leading a sing-along protest against her arch nemesis. Fox News, "Sekulow: Trump will decide whether he sits down with Mueller," 8 Aug. 2018 Meanwhile, Tiffany Trump, daughter of Clinton's arch nemesis Donald Trump, was also seen chilling: No word as to whether Trump and Clinton exchanged conversation, but oh, to be a fly on the wall... Video Player is loading. Mehera Bonner, Marie Claire, "So...Hillary Clinton, Jennifer Lopez, and Tiffany Trump Were at the Same Wedding This Weekend," 7 Aug. 2017 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

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 and Verb

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

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

8 Apr 2019

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 3)

: 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 3)

: to bend into the shape of an arch

arch

adjective

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

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

arch

noun
\ ˈärch How to pronounce arch (audio) \

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 How to pronounce arch (audio) \

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on arch

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with arch

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for arch

Spanish Central: Translation of arch

Nglish: Translation of arch for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of arch for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about arch

Comments on arch

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