- a 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.
- an upwardly curved construction, as of steel or timber functioning in the manner of a masonry arch.
- a doorway, gateway, etc., having a curved head; an .
- the 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.
- a device inserted in or built into shoes for supporting the arch of the foot.
- a 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.
verb (used with object)
- 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.
verb (used without object)
- to form an arch: elms arching over the road.
- Nautical. .
- playfully roguish or mischievous: an arch smile.
- cunning; crafty; sly.
- Obsolete. a person who is preeminent; a chief.
- archive; archives.
- a combining form that represents the outcome of 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. 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 (
- variant of archangel; archenteron. before a vowel:
- a combining form meaning “chief, leader, ruler,” used in the formation of compound words: monarch; matriarch; heresiarch.
- a curved structure, normally in the vertical plane, that spans an opening
- Also called: archway a 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 otherCompare ,
- (tr) to span (an opening) with an arch
- to form or cause to form an arch or a curve resembling that of an archthe cat arched its back
- (tr) to span or extend overthe bridge arched the flooded stream
- (prenominal) chief; principal; leadinghis arch rival
- (prenominal) very experienced; expertan arch criminal
- knowing or superior
- playfully or affectedly roguish or mischievous
n combining form
- leader; ruler; chiefpatriarch; monarch; heresiarch
- chief; principal; of highest rankarchangel; archbishop; archduke
- eminent above all others of the same kind; extremearchenemy; archfiend; archfool
c.1300, from Old French arche “arch of a bridge” (12c.), from Latin arcus “a bow” (see ). Replaced native (n.1). Originally architectural in English; transferred by early 15c. to anything having this form (eyebrows, etc.).
1540s, “chief, principal,” from prefix archangel, etc., but extended to so many derogatory uses (arch-rogue, arch-knave, etc.) that by mid-17c. it acquired a meaning of “roguish, mischievous,” since softened to “saucy.” Also found in archwife (late 14c.), variously defined as “a wife of a superior order” or “a dominating woman, virago.”; used in 12c.
early 14c., “to form an arch” (implied in arched); c.1400, “to furnish with an arch,” from (n.). Related: Arching.
also archi-, word-forming element meaning “chief, principal; extreme, ultra; early, primitive,” from Latinized form of Greek arkh-, arkhi- “first, chief, primeval,” comb. form of arkhos “chief” (see ).
word-forming element meaning “a ruler,” from Greek arkhos “leader, chief, ruler,” from arkhe “beginning, origin, first place” (see ).
- An organ or structure having a curved or bowlike appearance, especially either of two arched sections of the bony structure of the foot.
In architecture, a curved or pointed opening that spans a doorway, window, or other space.