- (sometimes initial capital letter) Also called . the large boat built by Noah in which he saved himself, his family, and a pair of every kind of creature during the Flood. Gen. 6–9.
- Also called ark of the covenant. a chest or box containing the two stone tablets inscribed with the Ten Commandments, carried by the Israelites in their wanderings in the desert after the Exodus: the most sacred object of the tabernacle and the Temple in Jerusalem, where it was kept in the holy of holies.
- a place of protection or security; refuge; asylum.
- (initial capital letter) Judaism. .
- a flatboat formerly used on the Mississippi River and its tributaries.
- Nautical. .
- Archaic. a chest or box.
- the vessel that Noah built and in which he saved himself, his family, and a number of animals and birds during the Flood (Genesis 6–9)
- out of the ark informal very old; out of date
- a place or thing offering shelter or protection
- dialect a chest, box, or coffer
- Also called: Holy Ark the cupboard at the front of a synagogue, usually in the eastern wall, in which the Torah scrolls are kept
- Also called: Ark of the Covenant the most sacred symbol of God’s presence among the Hebrew people, carried in their journey from Sinai to the Promised Land (Canaan) and eventually enshrined in the holy of holies of the Temple in Jerusalem
Old English earc, mainly meaning Noah’s but also the Ark of the Covenant, from Latin arca “large box, chest” (see ). Also borrowed in Old High German (arahha, Modern German Arche). From the Noachian sense comes extended meaning “place of refuge” (17c.). As the name of a type of ship or boat, from late 15c. In 19c. U.S., especially a large, flat-bottomed river boat to move produce, livestock, etc. to market.