1

arch

noun \ ˈärch \

Definition of arch

1 :a typically curved structural member spanning an opening and serving as a support (as for the wall or other weight above the opening)
2 a :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 was our Word of the Day on 02/19/2014. Hear the podcast!

Examples of arch in a Sentence

  1. There was a slight arch to her eyebrows.

  2. an arch in the cat's back

Recent Examples of arch from the Web

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.

Illustration of arch

Origin and Etymology of arch

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

Other Architecture Terms


2

arch

verb

Definition of arch

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.

Examples of arch in a Sentence

  1. The cat arched its back.

  2. She arched her eyebrows in surprise.

  3. A tree arches over the road.

  4. She arched backward to begin the exercise.

Recent Examples of arch from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of arch

see 1arch


3

arch

adjective

Definition of arch

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

archness

noun

Examples of arch in a Sentence

  1. a politician known for his arch humor

  2. The novel is never mocking or arch in its tone.

Did You Know?

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.

Origin and Etymology of arch


4

arch

abbreviation

Definition of arch

Other Architecture Terms


Arch

abbreviation

Definition of Arch


1

arch-

prefix

Definition of arch-

1 :chief :principal
  • archfiend
2 :extreme :most fully embodying the qualities of the kind
  • archconservative

Origin and Etymology of arch-

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


2

arch-

Definition of arch-

— see archi-

1

-arch

noun combining form

Definition of -arch

:ruler :leader
  • matriarch

Origin and Etymology of -arch

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


2

-arch

adjective combining form

Definition of -arch

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

Origin and Etymology of -arch

probably from German, from Greek archē beginning



ARCH Defined for English Language Learners

arch

noun

Definition of arch for English Language Learners

  • : 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

Definition of arch for English Language Learners

  • : to bend into the shape of an arch


arch

adjective

Definition of arch for English Language Learners

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


arch-

prefix

Definition of arch- for English Language Learners

  • : main or chief

  • : extreme


ARCH Defined for Kids

1

arch

noun \ ˈärch \

Definition of arch for Students

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

arched

\ˈärcht\ adjective
  • an arched doorway

2

arch

verb

Definition of arch for Students

arched; arching
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.

3

arch

adjective

Definition of arch for Students

1 :2chief 2, principal
  • an arch opponent
2 :being clever and mischievous
  • an arch look

archly

adverb

Medical Dictionary

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

Illustration of arch



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