\ ˈärk How to pronounce ark (audio) \

Definition of ark

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a boat or ship held to resemble that in which Noah and his family were preserved from the Flood
b : something that affords protection and safety
2a : the sacred chest representing to the Hebrews the presence of God among them
b : a repository traditionally in or against the wall of a synagogue for the scrolls of the Torah

Definition of Ark (Entry 2 of 2)


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A boat or ship held to resemble the one in which Noah and his family were preserved from the Flood is known as an ark. From this meaning comes the figurative meaning of ark as something that affords protection or safety. Ark is derived from the Latin word arca, meaning “chest,” which is akin to the Latin verb arcēre, meaning “to hold off or defend.” These Latin roots also gave us the use of ark to refer to the sacred chest representing to the Hebrews the presence of God among them and also to a repository that traditionally is in, or against, the wall of a synagogue for the scrolls of the Jewish Torah.

Examples of ark in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Josh just found a way to tell the story of Passover to the children and somehow bring it around to referencing the ark of the covenant from Raiders of the Lost Ark. Pamela Avila, USA TODAY, 17 Apr. 2022 Despite the chill of the day, the interior of the church seemed cozy and welcoming, the kind of space that promises to hold you safe, like an ark. Rebecca Mead, The New Yorker, 18 Apr. 2022 He's been Noah and all the animals on the ark in the same TikTok sketch. Sherry Liang, CNN, 30 Dec. 2021 Excavations led by a joint Israeli and Lithuanian team uncovered the Torah ark, or Aron Kodesh—the cabinet that holds a synagogue’s sacred scroll—and the bimah, or raised prayer platform. Livia Gershon, Smithsonian Magazine, 30 Aug. 2021 The foundation was exposed, there was graffiti on the walls, and the roof leaked so bad Noah would have built another ark. Richard A. Marini, San Antonio Express-News, 12 Jan. 2022 While there is no resident rabbi, the synagogue does keep a kosher Torah scroll in its ark. Cnaan Liphshiz,, 17 Nov. 2021 The story involves what is believed to be the remains of Noah’s ark suddenly surfacing on the shores of NEOM due to climate change, which creates a huge media frenzy and the arrival of swarms of archeologists. Nick Vivarelli, Variety, 10 Dec. 2021 Over the past year, coronavirus vaccines have gone into billions of human arms — and into the fuzzy haunches of an ark’s worth of zoo animals. New York Times, 15 Nov. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ark.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of ark


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for ark


Middle English, from Old English arc, from Latin arca chest; akin to Latin arcēre to hold off, defend, Greek arkein, Hittite ḫark- to have, hold

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The first known use of ark was before the 12th century

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Last Updated

16 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Ark.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for ark


noun, often capitalized
\ ˈärk How to pronounce ark (audio) \

Kids Definition of ark

1 : the ship in which an ancient Hebrew of the Bible named Noah and his family were saved from a great flood that God sent down on the world because of its wickedness
2 : a cabinet in a synagogue for the scrolls of the Torah



Kids Definition of Ark.


More from Merriam-Webster on ark

Nglish: Translation of ark for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ark for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about ark


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