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

Definition of arch (Entry 4 of 9)

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 Two by two, couples and pairs of friends — wearing floor-length gowns, sharp suits and plenty of wrist corsages — stepped under a colorful arch of balloons anchored to the center of Market Street. Erica Pearson, Star Tribune, 14 May 2021 This sandal style cradles your arch with its contoured footbed and offers additional support in the rubber sole. Emily Belfiore, Health.com, 28 Apr. 2021 Folded up, their largest arch is only 20 centimeters tall and 30 wide—the size of a few coffee table books stacked on each other—and expands to be three times as tall and five times as long. Max G. Levy, Wired, 27 Apr. 2021 Like Pasadena’s storied Colorado Street Bridge (completed in 1913 and 150 feet high), this concrete span has an open-spandrel design that draws your eye to its arch and supports. Christopher Reynolds, Los Angeles Times, 13 Mar. 2021 Clamp the first three rings to the arch and to each other and weld them in place. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, 13 Feb. 2021 The angle of her back was a little more acute in its arch. Julie Klausner, The New Yorker, 17 Dec. 2020 The odd arrangement could allow expansion of nuclear waste confinement and storage facilities already completed in an inner area close to the new arch. John Wendle, Scientific American, 21 Apr. 2016 The inevitable collapse of the bridge portion of a sea arch commonly produces a sea stack or pillar. David Bressan, Forbes, 20 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The bridge will arch over Fall Creek from 10th Street and Riley Hospital Drive, according to a previous news release from 16 Tech, to connect the city's medical and education campuses to the district. Sarah Nelson, The Indianapolis Star, 12 May 2021 The Toscano Tete-A-Tete Bronze Steel Patio Bench is a stunning array of swirls, curves, and arch design fabricated with rust-resistant metal. Adrienne Jordan, Better Homes & Gardens, 27 Apr. 2021 Control of your weight, of your turnout, of your stretched and strengthened feet that now arch into a shape no ordinary foot can make. Chloe Angyal, Marie Claire, 22 Apr. 2021 Spread your arms and legs, present your chest to the ground, and arch your back and head upward. Dan Koeppel, Popular Mechanics, 14 Feb. 2021 Since uneven grass can cause your feet to twist, arch support and cushioning are paramount. Jeremy Helligar, Popular Science, 15 Jan. 2021 Florida Gators legend Steve Spurrier once mockingly referred to arch rival FSU as Free Shoes U., but now UF has its own infamous footwear moniker. Mike Bianchi, orlandosentinel.com, 13 Dec. 2020 Arizona has fired head football coach Kevin Sumlin, a day after the Wildcats lost 70-7 to arch-rival Arizona State and fell to 0-5 this season. Creg Stephenson | Cstephenson@al.com, al, 12 Dec. 2020 Even then a striped skunk usually will stomp his feet, arch his back and even hiss before spraying. René A. Guzman, ExpressNews.com, 27 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The ergonomic design makes each step comfortable without sacrificing things like arch support. Maren Estrada, BGR, 4 June 2021 Shoes: Look for shoes with good arch support and plenty of cushioning. Washington Post, 2 June 2021 In 2001, Shrek ran headfirst in the opposite direction, leaning into Y2K postmodernism, pop-culture references, a precarious blend of arch irony and heart, and a genuinely staggering amount of poop and fart humor. Rebecca Alter, Vulture, 19 May 2021 For someone, like me, who's looking for a comfortable slip-on with good arch support, the Dasher Relay checks all the boxes. Karina Hoshikawa, refinery29.com, 29 Apr. 2021 Apple just hit out at arch rival Facebook with a major new privacy move following the launch of iOS 14.5. Kate O'flaherty, Forbes, 21 May 2021 Under Swensen's management, the endowment fund grew to more than $31 billion as of 2020 to become the second largest in the nation — trailing only arch rival Harvard. Paul R. La Monica, CNN, 6 May 2021 Its total gross merchandise volume last year was $12.5 billion, more than doubling from 2018 even as competition from arch rival Gojek intensified and the coronavirus pandemic restricted people’s movements. Fortune, 13 Apr. 2021 One place where China’s influence still dominates is India’s arch-rival Pakistan, recipient of some $70 billion of Chinese financing for infrastructure. Iain Marlow, Bloomberg.com, 25 Feb. 2021

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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Time Traveler for arch

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for arch

Last Updated

5 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Arch.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/arch. Accessed 13 Jun. 2021.

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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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