-arch- comes from Greek, where it has the meaning "chief; leader; ruler.'' This meaning is found in such words as: anarchy, archbishop, archdiocese, hierarchy, matriarch, monarch, monarchy, patriarch.
-arch- is also used to form nouns that refer to persons who are the most important, most notable, or the most extreme examples of (the following noun): archenemy (= the most important enemy); archconservative (= the most extreme example of a conservative).
-arch- also appears with the meaning "first, earliest, original, oldest in time.'' This meaning is found in such words as: archaeology, archaic, archaism, archetype.
Architecturea curved masonry construction for spanning an opening, consisting of a number of wedgelike stones, bricks, or the like, set with the narrower side toward the opening in such a way that forces on the arch are transmitted as vertical or oblique stresses on either side of the opening.
Architecturean upwardly curved construction, as of steel or timber functioning in the manner of a masonry arch.
Architecturea doorway, gateway, etc., having a curved head; an archway.
Architecturethe curved head of an opening, as a doorway.
any overhead curvature resembling an arch.
something bowed or curved; any bowlike part:the arch of the foot.
Clothinga device inserted in or built into shoes for supporting the arch of the foot.
Civil Engineeringa dam construction having the form of a barrel vault running vertically with its convex face toward the impounded water.
a chamber or opening in a glassmaking furnace.
See pot arch.
to cover with a vault, or span with an arch:the rude bridge that arched the flood.
to throw or make into the shape of an arch or vault; curve:The horse arched its neck.
to form an arch:elms arching over the road.
Nautical, Naval Termshog (def. 16).
Vulgar Latin *arca, feminine variant of Latin arcusarc
Old French arche
Middle English arch(e) 1250–1300
playfully roguish or mischievous:an arch smile.
cunning; crafty; sly.
[Obs.]a person who is preeminent; a chief.
independent use of arch-1
a combining form that represents the outcome of archi- in words borrowed through Latin from Greek in the Old English period; it subsequently became a productive form added to nouns of any origin, which thus denote individuals or institutions directing or having authority over others of their class (archbishop; archdiocese; archpriest). More recently, arch-1 has developed the senses "principal'' (archenemy; archrival) or "prototypical'' and thus exemplary or extreme (archconservative); nouns so formed are almost always pejorative.
Greek. Cf. archangel
Medieval Latin arci-, and Gothic ark- directly
Greek (see archi-); but Dutch aarts-, Middle Low German erse-, Middle High German, German Erz-
Old English arce-, ærce-, erce- ( Old Norse erki-) Middle English
var. of archi- before a vowel:archangel; archenteron.
a combining form meaning "chief, leader, ruler,'' used in the formation of compound words:monarch;matriarch;heresiarch.
Greek -archos or -archēs, as comb. forms of árchos leader; compare archi-
a combining form with the general sense "first, principal,'' that is prefixed to nouns denoting things that are earliest, most basic, or bottommost (archiblast; archiphoneme; architrave); or denoting individuals who direct or have authority over others of their class, usually named by the base noun (archimandrite; architect).
Also,[esp. before a vowel,]arch-.Cf. arch-1,arche-.
Greek, combining form akin to arché̄ beginning, árchos leader, árchein to be the first, command
a curved structure, normally in the vertical plane, that spans an opening
Also called:archwaya structure in the form of an arch that serves as a gateway
something curved like an arch
any of various parts or structures of the body having a curved or archlike outline, such as the transverse portion of the aorta (arch of the aorta) or the raised bony vault formed by the tarsal and metatarsal bones (arch of the foot)
one of the basic patterns of the human fingerprint, formed by several curved ridges one above the other
(transitive) to span (an opening) with an arch
to form or cause to form an arch or a curve resembling that of an arch
(transitive) to span or extend over
Etymology: 14th Century: from Old French arche, from Vulgar Latin arca (unattested), from Latin arcus bow, arc
(prenominal) chief; principal; leading: his arch rival
(prenominal) very experienced; expert: an arch criminal