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

Inside, curved walls and arches, as well as detailed ironwork, add to the home’s appeal. Thoughtfully placed furniture and accessories complete the look. Lennie Omalza, The Courier-Journal, "Homearama house in Dove Point Estates inspired by the Mediterranean coast," 11 July 2019 The headband is made of a slim, breathable piece of fabric designed to wrap around the head, with a separate arch extending over the top. Kelly Mayes, Science | AAAS, "Brain-monitoring headbands could track your sleep as well as a sleep lab," 10 July 2019 This is an environmentally friendly design that will have an open-arch structure that will permit fish and animals to move under the roadway. Cathy Kozlowicz, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "The Clover Drive bridge replacement in Sussex will close the road for six weeks," 10 July 2019 Nigel Farage, an arch anti-establishment voice in Britain — and once an ambassador hopeful himself — said on Sunday that Darroch should be fired. Washington Post, "The not-so-secret history of ambassadors trashing their hosts," 9 July 2019 The meeting clearly left an impression on Biden, who swiftly found common cause with the arch-segregationists of the Senate. NBC News, "Biden's mastery of backlash politics takes center stage," 6 July 2019 The Partenopei, who are also edging closer to agreeing a deal with Real Madrid for the transfer of James Rodriguez, are highly keen on landing the arch Argentine and have readied a €10m-a-year package to secure his services. SI.com, "Napoli Readying €10m-a-Year Salary for Wantaway Inter Striker Mauro Icardi," 5 July 2019 Included was a pack of Biden supporters armed with a red convertible and a red-white-and-blue balloon arch. Matt Stout, BostonGlobe.com, "In New Hampshire, 5 presidential candidates take to the parade route to meet voters," 4 July 2019 The 1920s house is awash in ornamental details, with a distinctive keyhole-arch motif throughout the nearly 5,100 square feet of interiors. Neal J. Leitereg And Lauren Beale, latimes.com, "Hot Property Newsletter: Summertime, and the livin’ is easy," 29 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Brenda Mulberry popped out from behind the front desk and shifted her weight up and down on the balls of her feet, eyes wide and eyebrows arched. Chabeli Herrera, orlandosentinel.com, "Apollo 11 moon landing anniversary is spurring one giant leap in business on the Space Coast," 10 July 2019 An intimate view of the arched back of a woman with long, wet hair against a dreamy, inchoate landscape, its heavy, rounded forms and soft, mottling brushstrokes arouse the sense of touch to an almost excruciating level. Sebastian Smee, Washington Post, "More and more people loathe Renoir. Is it time for a revival?," 25 June 2019 Design features include exposed wood beam ceilings, skylights, arched doorways and hardwood and stone flooring throughout. Ebony Day, azcentral, "Paradise Valley mansion with exercise room off master suite sells for $3.65M," 24 June 2019 Buckley replied, arching his brows and flaring his nostrils in his characteristic way. David Von Drehle, The Denver Post, "Von Drehle: How Democrats can respond when President Trump cries socialism," 23 June 2019 Big arching windows on both floors allow a lot of natural light. Judy Rose, Detroit Free Press, "$1.1M Birmingham home is a 'secluded haven' on unusual lot," 22 June 2019 In a corner of what is essentially an ice cream parlor, students sit down to learn about gelato while behind them, an arching, stainless-steel counter holds a veritable world of flavors, and a busy kitchen makes even more. Naomi Tomky, Fortune, "How to Get a Degree in Gelato," 22 June 2019 The ball-playing defender alongside the monster that is Giorgio Chiellini, Bonucci launches attacks with his arching long passes and gets his small share of goals. SI.com, "Massimiliano Allegri: The Six-Time Serie A Winner's All-Time Best XI," 20 June 2019 Along with legs-for-days, Dion's look featured a diffusion of gold that arched over lids, brows, and temples, the warming hue punctuated by a heavy application of black eyeliner and ample lashes. Calin Van Paris, Vogue, "Céline Dion Rules the Met Gala Red Carpet With a Showgirl-Worthy Leg Reveal," 6 May 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The ship shares a name with one of the president's arch political rivals, the Vietnam War POW turned longtime Republican senator who died last year. Jason Silverstein, CBS News, "Veterans will give out USS John McCain T-shirts at Trump's July 4th event," 2 July 2019 Los Blancos managed to convince their arch rivals from Catalonia to part ways with the Portuguese, paying €60m in 2000 to bring him to Madrid. SI.com, "The 50 Most Expensive Real Madrid Signings Ever," 27 June 2019 Some sneakers have more arch support than others, some have a wider outflare at the heel for improved stability. SELF, "7 Smart Things You Can Do to Proactively Prevent Running Injuries," 26 Sep. 2018 That setup tells you just how arranged this movie is, and the whole thing, by rights, should seem arch and overworked. Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, "“The Dead Don’t Die” Does the Zombie Genre to Death," 14 June 2019 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

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

15 Jul 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

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