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

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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 In its bathroom, three steps lead to a Roman bath under an arch. Judy Rose, Detroit Free Press, 15 Aug. 2021 On May 11, a crack was discovered in a steel beam connecting cords to an arch. Bill Bowden, Arkansas Online, 27 July 2021 The park currently is fronted by a medallion in the entrance arch, a spot typically held by Halloween Horror Nights and Mardi Gras signs in the past. Dewayne Bevil, orlandosentinel.com, 1 June 2021 The breeze is then directed out of the wheel arch toward the back of the car, which Toyota says provides superior steering stability. Matt Crisara, Popular Mechanics, 24 Aug. 2021 As be become more pressed for work, the actor read for the role of Topper, his arch-nemesis on the show, but the audition didn't exactly go as planned. Abigail Adams, PEOPLE.com, 23 July 2021 China has increasingly robust relations with both Saudi Arabia and its regional arch-nemesis Iran. Jomana Karadsheh And Gul Tuysuz, CNN, 8 June 2021 That peace, however, is ripe for disruption with the introduction of the serial killer Cletus Kasady — played by Woody Harrelson — who soon becomes the host for Venom’s arch-nemesis, Carnage. Jon Blistein, Rolling Stone, 10 May 2021 While working as an anthropologist at the Smithsonian Institute, Diana and her co-worker/future arch-nemesis Barbara Ann Minerva (Kristen Wiig) come across a seemingly innocuous ancient stone. Ineye Komonibo, refinery29.com, 29 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The secret to a perfect shape is learning where your brows should start, arch and end. Felicity Carter, Forbes, 13 Sep. 2021 Her heart does not arch toward them; her torso doesn't lean in and surround. Olivia Harrison, refinery29.com, 8 June 2021 Bertrand represents a new and potent type of figure in the Party, the arch-articulate young woman who pits women’s rights against Muslim immigration. Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, 12 Aug. 2021 Anyone else see acres of empty seats at TQL Stadium and arch an eyebrow? Paul Daugherty, The Enquirer, 11 Aug. 2021 The maneuver requires a climber to arch her back to stay close to the wall. Julie Jag, The Salt Lake Tribune, 4 Aug. 2021 And because the upper part of her spine is essentially one solid mass, for example, Condie is unable to bend, twist or arch her back to reach certain spots on the wall, like some of her competitors. Tom Schad, USA TODAY, 3 Aug. 2021 Both sides arch upward, balancing atop a mound of noodles tangled around bean sprouts and shards of green onion. Jenn Harris Columnist, Los Angeles Times, 7 July 2021 Necks arch back and phones and cameras go up as Downs points out white terns. Melody Bentz, Smithsonian Magazine, 8 July 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Inside, the sneaker has a vegan insole made from cork, bio memory foam, and organic mamona oil that provides arch support and ample cushioning for all-day comfort. Eva Thomas, PEOPLE.com, 31 Aug. 2021 By the time Facebook switched on external tracking in 2014, Facebook owned onetime rival Instagram, and arch-nemesis Google had killed off its alternative social network Orkut. Geoffrey A. Fowler, Anchorage Daily News, 29 Aug. 2021 The arch towers in the center of the park beyond the museum entrance, but a rise in the landscape blocks the view of the Mississippi from that point. Steven Litt, cleveland, 15 Aug. 2021 What was once a rather elegant building made of brick with pointed arch windows has lost most of its roof and one end is collapsing. Mary Ann Ashcraft, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, 8 Aug. 2021 In 1964, with arch-segregationist George Wallace in town to run for president, National Guardsmen had occupied the streets. Malaika Jabali, Essence, 17 July 2021 Collier, a Grammy favorite, makes music that’s arch, shaggy and extravagantly awkward, as if the most popular performer of 1971 had dropped a rough batch of acid. New York Times, 16 July 2021 By the time Facebook switched on external tracking in 2014, Facebook owned onetime rival Instagram, and arch-nemesis Google had killed off its alternative social network Orkut. Washington Post, 20 Oct. 2020 For men, a pair of waterproof Chelsea boots from Ugg with tons of arch support are discounted to just $90. Karen I. Chen, Travel + Leisure, 11 Aug. 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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Dictionary Entries Near arch

arc furnace

arch

arch-

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Statistics for arch

Last Updated

21 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Arch.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/arch. Accessed 25 Sep. 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 : curve

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

More from Merriam-Webster on 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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