: having (such) a point or (so many) points of origin
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As a prefix, arch- appears in a number of titles referring to positions of superiority, such as archduke and archbishop; it can also mean "chief" (as in archnemesis) or "extreme" (archconservative). It comes from the Greek verb archein, meaning "to begin or to rule."
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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Note that those with high arches may find that these aren’t supportive enough, given the flat footbed.—Sophie Dodd, Travel + Leisure, 19 Sep. 2023 Instead, the inside was made up of a long corridor—which led to the mysterious arch.—Christopher Parker, Smithsonian Magazine, 18 Sep. 2023 Plus, as someone with high arches, taking on a flat-footed shoe sounded painful at best.—Christian Allaire, Vogue, 12 Sep. 2023 Normally rugs come in pretty traditional shapes like rectangle and round, but this retailer has elegant arches, swoopy scallops, and rounded edges, a visual interest smorgasbord for floor coverings.—Carrie Honaker, Southern Living, 11 Sep. 2023 Mackinac Island’s Arch Rock is a natural limestone arch that was formed during the Nippising post-glacier period.—Jasmin Barmore, Detroit Free Press, 2 Sep. 2023 Those with high arches will appreciate the sloped and squishy footbed, which provides support without feeling overly firm.—Sophie Dodd, Peoplemag, 31 Aug. 2023 Another one of the best sensual massage techniques: Use your thumbs in areas where your partner wants more pinpointed pressure, like on the arches of their feet.—Ro White, SELF, 15 Sep. 2023 Gilded arches and columns surround the pool, and the bottom of the pool is adorned with decorative mosaic work.—Emma Reynolds, Robb Report, 13 Sep. 2023
Out front, bountiful bunches of bougainvillea arch their way across the home’s façade, and there’s a two-car garage.—James McClain, Robb Report, 6 Sep. 2023 Without arching your back, squeeze your right glute and lift your right leg up toward the ceiling.—Mallory Creveling, Health, 3 Sep. 2023 This movement also requires a ton of core engagement to ensure there's minimal arching through the spine.—Cori Ritchey, Men's Health, 1 Sep. 2023 This bracing can help prevent arching or rounding the low back, which is why an RDL is such a great core stabilizing move.1
The Romanian deadlift relies heavily on movement from the hips with a neutral spine.—Tiffany Ayuda, Health, 22 Aug. 2023 The longleaf pine’s branches arch toward the sky, each bud bursting with spindly green fingers.—Adithi Ramakrishnan, Dallas News, 24 July 2023 This native plant has elegant arching branches dotted with clusters of creamy white or pink flowers in late spring.—Arricca Elin Sansone, House Beautiful, 21 July 2023 Disguising themselves as the Morpho and his sidekick, the Monarch and 21 decide to eliminate all the villains allowed to arch Doc.—Mat Olson, Vulture, 19 July 2023 With wiry, arching stems and lacy leaflets, this houseplant is a striking addition.—Arricca Elin Sansone, Country Living, 17 Aug. 2023
Frequently Asked Questions Which Birkenstocks are most comfortable? Birkenstock shoes are made with a contoured footbed that molds to the shape of your feet and provides moderate arch support.—Cai Cramer, Peoplemag, 16 Sep. 2023 Not to mention that the foam midsoles are 2 millimeters thick, which will deliver excellent arch support and shock absorption to minimize pain and fatigue.—Adrienne Jordan, Travel + Leisure, 6 Sep. 2023 Midsoles are ergonomically shaped to provide arch support, heel cradling, and absorb toe pressure.—Brad Lanphear, Men's Health, 5 Sep. 2023 Sandals with contoured footbeds and good cushioning are designed to provide ideal arch support for your feet.—Sophie Dodd, Peoplemag, 31 Aug. 2023 For me, these shoes always lacked arch support and cushioning for everyday walking.—Emily Belfiore, Travel + Leisure, 25 Aug. 2023 Orthotics can be inserted into the shoes for better arch support and shock absorption.—Lindsay Modglin, Verywell Health, 11 Aug. 2023 Read more: Best Hiking Shoes A sandal with decent arch support is a must-have for summertime, and these pairs check that essential box.—Elizabeth Djinis, SELF, 4 Aug. 2023 Sturdy and durable, these shoes combine breathable comfort and excellent arch support for an all-round pleasurable hiking experience.—Samson McDougall, Health, 4 Aug. 2023 See More
These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'arch.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.
Noun and Verb
Middle English arche, from Anglo-French, from Vulgar Latin *arca, from Latin arcus — more at arrow
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