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  1. Eastern Church.
    1. a patriarch's deputy.
    2. a title originally applied to a patriarch but later applied only to a bishop ranking below a patriarch and above a metropolitan.
  2. the ruler of a province in the Byzantine Empire.

Origin of exarch1

1580–90; < Late Latin exarchus superintendent < Greek éxarchos overseer, leader, equivalent to ex- ex-3 + -archos -arch
Related formsex·arch·al, adjective


adjective Botany.
  1. (of a primary xylem or root) developing from the center; having the youngest cells closest to the core.

Origin of exarch2

1890–95; ex-2 + Greek archḗ beginning
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for exarch

Historical Examples

British Dictionary definitions for exarch


  1. the head of certain autonomous Orthodox Christian Churches, such as that of Bulgaria and Cyprus
  2. any of certain Eastern Orthodox bishops, lower in rank than a patriarch but higher than a metropolitan
  3. the governor of a province in the Byzantine Empire
Derived Formsexarchal, adjective

Word Origin

C16: from Late Latin exarchus overseer, from Greek exarkhos, from exarkhein to take the lead, from arkhein to rule


  1. botany (of a xylem strand) having the first-formed xylem external to that formed laterCompare endarch, mesarch

Word Origin

C19: from ex- 1 (outside) + Greek arkhē beginning, origin
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

Word Origin and History for exarch


from Late Latin exarchus, from Greek exarkhos, from ex (see ex- (2)) + arkhos "leader, chief, ruler" (see archon).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper