- 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 archway.
- 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.
- pot arch.
- 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.
- to form an arch: elms arching over the road.
- Nautical. hog(def 14).
Origin of arch1
- playfully roguish or mischievous: an arch smile.
- cunning; crafty; sly.
- Obsolete. a person who is preeminent; a chief.
Origin of arch2
- a combining form that represents the outcome of archi- 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 (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.
Origin of arch-1
- variant of archi- before a vowel: archangel; archenteron.
- a combining form meaning “chief, leader, ruler,” used in the formation of compound words: monarch; matriarch; heresiarch.
Origin of -arch
Examples from the Web for arch
On the steps of the old courthouse in the shadow of the arch where Al Sharpton addressed a media horde.Michael Brown's Hometown Is Under Occupation
August 13, 2014
You know it, I know it, the generals know it, Arch knows it, so what are we waiting for?
But as I thought of the way we had been treated for the past week, I understood what Arch was telling me.
Luke had been given the poison by his arch nemesis, Helena Cassadine.Radioactive Revelations Raise the Question: Who Killed Arafat?
November 8, 2013
By 1976, after Arch Moore was exposed as what he was, Rockefeller won the governorship and served two terms.Rockefeller's Retirement
January 11, 2013
When the window was new it must have been surmounted in the middle of the arch by an ornamental design.The Dream
"That could not always have been your ladyship's opinion," said Belinda, with an arch smile.Tales And Novels, Volume 3 (of 10)
Often and often have I been forced to smile at her arch turns upon me, when I could have beat her for them.Clarissa, Volume 2 (of 9)
The General turned an arch smile of perplexity upon his chief-of-staff.The Cavalier
George Washington Cable
In the midst of the assemblage one figure towers—the Arch Druid.Bride of the Mistletoe
James Lane Allen
- 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 loop 1 (def. 10a), whorl (def. 3)
- (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
- leader; ruler; chiefpatriarch; monarch; heresiarch
- chief; principal; of highest rankarchangel; archbishop; archduke
- eminent above all others of the same kind; extremearchenemy; archfiend; archfool
Word Origin and History for arch
1540s, "chief, principal," from prefix arch-; used in 12c. 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."
early 14c., "to form an arch" (implied in arched); c.1400, "to furnish with an arch," from arch (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 archon).
word-forming element meaning "a ruler," from Greek arkhos "leader, chief, ruler," from arkhe "beginning, origin, first place" (see archon).
- 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.