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[ahrk] /ɑrk/
(sometimes initial capital letter). Also called Noah's Ark. 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. Holy Ark.
a flatboat formerly used on the Mississippi River and its tributaries.
Nautical. life car.
Archaic. a chest or box.
Origin of ark
before 850; Middle English ark(e), erke, Old English arc, earc(e) (compare Old Frisian erke, arke, Dutch ark, Old High German, Gothic arka, Old Norse ǫrk) < Latin arca chest, coffer, derivative of arcēre to safeguard, cognate with Hittite h̬ark- hold, possess
Can be confused
arc, ark.


1. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for ark
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The ark of God would bear them safely when all material help failed.

  • A bell, for instance—as well expect to find a bell here as in Noah's ark!

    The Roof of France Matilda Betham-Edwards
  • "No, it looks like one that came over in the ark," retorted Mrs. Glynn.

    The Yates Pride Mary E. Wilkins Freeman
  • And once more: 'When the ark was removed a stone was there from the days of the first Prophets.


    Benjamin Taylor
  • Where were the Tabernacle and the ark of God placed after the land was won?

    Hurlbut's Bible Lessons Rev. Jesse Lyman Hurlbut
British Dictionary definitions for ark


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)
(informal) out of the ark, very old; out of date
a place or thing offering shelter or protection
(dialect) a chest, box, or coffer
Word Origin
Old English arc, from Latin arca box, chest


noun (Judaism)
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


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 ark

Old English earc, mainly meaning Noah's but also the Ark of the Covenant, from Latin arca "large box, chest" (see arcane). 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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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