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a combining form meaning “chief, leader, ruler,” used in the formation of compound words:
monarch; matriarch; heresiarch.
Origin of -arch
< Greek -archos or -archēs, as comb. forms of árchos leader; cf. archi- Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for -arch


combining form
leader; ruler; chief: patriarch, monarch, heresiarch
Word Origin
from Greek -arkhēs, from arkhein to rule; compare arch-
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for -arch

word-forming element meaning "a ruler," from Greek arkhos "leader, chief, ruler," from arkhe "beginning, origin, first place" (see archon).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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