\ 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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Did You Know?

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

An 13th-century English map of the Holy Land, drawn by a monk who spoke with Armenian travelers, shows another myth of origin: Armenia as the home of Noah’s ark, the boat resting on the peaks of Mount Ararat. Edward Rothstein, WSJ, "‘Armenia!’ Review: Exploring the First Christian Nation," 29 Sep. 2018 Yandy’s ark of offerings is evidence that pretty much any animal can be sexed up, although not all animals are equally alluring. Rachel Sugar, Vox, "Why are “sexy” cats a thing?," 26 Oct. 2018 One story reimagines the biblical tale of Noah’s ark from Noah’s brother’s perspective. Dwight Garner, New York Times, "Experiments Succeed — and Fail — Spectacularly in Robert Coover’s Lab," 12 Feb. 2018 The Biblical reference to Noah releasing the dove from the ark in search of dry land may have been the first notable contribution. John Schandelmeier, Anchorage Daily News, "Some words on birds and their impact on Alaska and the rest of the world," 24 June 2018 By most accounts, the ark draws more visitors than its sister attraction. Cameron Knight,, "Ark Encounter reports 1 million visitors in second year," 5 July 2018 The books denounce evolution as untrue, for example, and one shows a cartoon of men and dinosaurs together, telling students the biblical Noah likely brought baby dinosaurs onto his ark. Anchorage Daily News, "Some Florida private schools’ curriculum downplays slavery, says humans and dinosaurs lived together," 1 July 2018 Photos via Adam Schnack Even Noah would have traded in his ark for this stunning Danish houseboat. Alex Bazeley, Curbed, "Luxe Danish houseboat with terrace yours for $925K," 29 June 2018 On some blocks, the view is not of skyscrapers, suspension bridges or harbor-side statues, but something much more surprising: an ark’s worth of wildlife, spotted, striped and furry, frolicking in meadows and forests. New York Times, "West Farms, the Bronx: Flora, Fauna and Renewal," 13 June 2018

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.

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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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Statistics for ark

Last Updated

16 May 2019

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Time Traveler for ark

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

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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.


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More from Merriam-Webster on ark

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ark

Spanish Central: Translation of ark

Nglish: Translation of ark for Spanish Speakers

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

Comments on ark

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a sum of money that is sent as a payment

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