arch-

1

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.

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Origin of arch-

1
Middle English; Old English arce-, ærce-, erce- (> Old Norse erki-) < Latin archi- < Greek (see archi-); but Dutch aarts-, Middle Low German erse-, Middle High German, German Erz- < Medieval Latin arci-, and Gothic ark- directly < Greek. Cf. archangel

Definition for arch- (2 of 2)

arch-2

variant of archi- before a vowel: archangel; archenteron.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

British Dictionary definitions for arch-

arch-

archi-


combining form

chief; principal; of highest rankarchangel; archbishop; archduke
eminent above all others of the same kind; extremearchenemy; archfiend; archfool

Word Origin for arch-

ultimately from Greek arkhi-, from arkhein to rule
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