See more synonyms for archive on
  1. Usually archives. documents or records relating to the activities, business dealings, etc., of a person, family, corporation, association, community, or nation.
  2. archives, a place where public records or other historical documents are kept.
  3. any extensive record or collection of data: The encyclopedia is an archive of world history. The experience was sealed in the archive of her memory.
  4. Digital Technology.
    1. a long-term storage device, as a disk or magnetic tape, or a computer directory or folder that contains copies of files for backup or future reference.
    2. a collection of digital data stored in this way.
    3. a computer file containing one or more compressed files.
    4. a collection of information permanently stored on the Internet: The magazine has its entire archive online, from 1923 to the present.
verb (used with object), ar·chived, ar·chiv·ing.
  1. to place or store in an archive: to vote on archiving the city's historic documents.
  2. Digital Technology. to compress (computer files) and store them in a single file.

Origin of archive

1595–1605; orig., as plural < French archives < Latin archī(v)a < Greek archeîa, orig. plural of archeîon public office, equivalent to arch(ḗ) magistracy, office + -eion suffix of place Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for archives

Contemporary Examples of archives

Historical Examples of archives

  • In the middle of the court is the donjon, which contains the archives and the treasure.

    English Villages

    P. H. Ditchfield

  • A deed once deposited in the archives of the Notary is sacred.

    The False Chevalier

    William Douw Lighthall

  • His papers and diaries are in the archives of the Wisconsin Historical Society.

    Old Fort Snelling

    Marcus L. Hansen

  • Miss Wright, however, did not use the documents found in other archives.

  • Archives and documents are searched for details about his life and works.


    Josef Israels

British Dictionary definitions for archives


noun (often plural)
  1. a collection of records of or about an institution, family, etc
  2. a place where such records are kept
  3. computing data transferred to a tape or disk for long-term storage rather than frequent use
verb (tr)
  1. to store (documents, data, etc) in an archive or other repository
Derived Formsarchival, adjective

Word Origin for archive

C17: from Late Latin archīvum, from Greek arkheion repository of official records, from arkhē government
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 archives

c.1600, from French archif (16c.), from Late Latin archivum (singular), from Greek ta arkheia "public records," plural of arkheion "town hall," from arkhe "government," literally "beginning, origin, first place" (see archon).



1819 (implied in archived), from archives. Related: Archiving.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper