\ 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 Sales of survival kits soared, and there were reports that a man in China built a modern-day Noah's ark. John Blake, CNN, "Coronavirus is bringing a plague of dangerous doomsday predictions," 22 Mar. 2020 Nothing here is a cliche, especially the ark aerie. oregonlive, "Ark treehouse, Airstream and ADUs: Portland architect designs compact, comfy homes on his Cully property," 25 Apr. 2020 Inside are the custom items: Crimson Tide shofroth, Crimson Tide arks of the covenant, Crimson Tide menorahs and mezuzahs. Zach Helfand, The New Yorker, "Jeff Sessions’s Opponent, Tommy Tuberville, Takes a Beating in Israel," 9 Mar. 2020 The founder of the ark is Ken Ham, an Australian creationist who is the CEO of Answers in Genesis. Billy Kobin, The Courier-Journal, "'We Believe in Dinosaurs': Kentucky Ark Encounter documentary offers flood of takeaways," 17 Feb. 2020 It is celebrated by taking all the Torah scrolls out of the ark in a synagogue as people spend the evening dancing, singing and rejoicing. Sergio Carmona,, "Simchat Torah to be celebrated at South Florida synagogues," 11 Oct. 2019 The ark of history But the march to adaptation is not an unalloyed good. The Economist, "Humanity will find ways to adapt to climate change," 19 Sep. 2019 According to legend, Noah loaded two of every animal onto a 150-meter long ark to save them from apocalyptic flooding. Fox News, "Noah’s Ark ‘buried in Turkish mountains’ as experts say 3D scans will prove Biblical ship’s existence," 22 Nov. 2019 Farther north is a row of private arks; upscale houseboats all in a row. Carl Nolte,, "The Bay Area is showing off its pink again, and boy is it glorious," 22 Feb. 2020

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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Time Traveler for ark

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

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Statistics for ark

Last Updated

29 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Ark.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jul. 2020.

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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

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