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

Pinterest’s trove of floral arches, favors, couple’s portraits, and DIY ideas are most likely original content created for the platform or another outlet, rather than aspirational, real wedding imagery. Riley & Grey, Harper's BAZAAR, "When It Comes to Wedding Planning, Is Instagram the New Pinterest?," 30 July 2019 The separate areas are united by a Anderson-esque love of arches, soft, glowy lighting, and playful visual tricks that makes every nook of the restaurant totally, almost annoyingly, snapshot-worthy. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Gorgeous restaurant is a not-so-subtle homage to Wes Anderson’s sets," 24 June 2019 Dig those art deco-like scrolls over the wheel arches, fitted with heavy plastic skirting. Dan Neil, WSJ, "The Lexus UX 250h: Perfect If You Have No Kids and Extra Cash," 20 June 2019 Intake air is cooled by a separate, two-stage low-temperature water circuit; the first cooler stage is composed of two parallel coolers in the left and right wheel arches, followed by another set of intercoolers downstream. Andrew Wendler, Car and Driver, "The 2020 Mercedes-AMG GT R Roadster Costs Almost $27,000 More than the Coupe," 30 May 2019 Goodyear Community Park Colorful water arches, drop buckets and water cannons are featured at this splash pad. azcentral, "45 Phoenix area splash pads, parks and water features," 14 June 2018 The design also features the arch welcoming people to the Carmel Arts & Design District, a nod to the Monon and a Carmel Fire Department truck. Kaitlin Lange, Indianapolis Star, "Here's how much Carmel's Midtown Plaza and its big screen TV cost taxpayers," 22 July 2019 The venue was all pink, of course; from the festive sequins and fluffy feathered pillows to the balloon arches that could be found at almost every corner. Teen Vogue, "Teen Vogue Had The Perfect Sweet 16 And Everything Was Pink," 21 June 2019 Visitors are welcomed by the colorful Barrio Logan neighborhood arch and will find plentiful open space and free parking. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Eating my way through Mercado del Barrio: This is what America tastes like," 20 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Inside the house, the large arching windows dominate and pour in views of the landscape and lake. Judy Rose, Detroit Free Press, "Terraces, balconies make $3M Grosse Pointe Shores mansion special," 20 July 2019 This can put extra stress in your wrists and shoulders and put your spine in a less-than-ideal position (ideal meaning neutral, not arched or rounded). Jenny Mccoy, SELF, "Are Those Push-Ups in My Indoor Cycling Class Actually Doing Anything?," 30 June 2019 Entering via the front porch, the living room has a brick fireplace and arched French doors. Jon Gorey, BostonGlobe.com, "For sale: Homes with built-in bench seating in Hull and Easton," 26 July 2019 Quick hits on the Padres, from a major league scout: The over-arching opinion is positive. Tom Krasovic, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Scout weighs in on what’s going on with Padres," 25 July 2019 One just arched his back menacingly at the lady cat, like real cats do. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "I Watched the Cats Trailer and I Have Some Questions," 18 July 2019 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Education seems to be both your arch nemesis and … [laughs]. Tyler Joe, House Beautiful, "Multifunctional Homes, and the Multitasking Designers Who Create Them," 5 Aug. 2019 Dortmund will be delighted with the win, not only for picking up the first piece of silverware of the season but made even sweeter by defeating their arch rivals after such a humiliating collapse just a few months ago. SI.com, "Borussia Dortmund 2-0 Bayern Munich: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Powerful BVB Prevail in Supercup," 3 Aug. 2019 Standing in its way this summer season was arch nemesis IIwII who has been a handful for Game Changerz during playoff time. Emmett Hall, sun-sentinel.com, "Game Changerz swings way to Tamarac softball title," 25 July 2019 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

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

12 Aug 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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