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See also: arch-


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arch (3).


Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English, from Old French arche (an arch) (French arche), a feminine form of arc, from Latin arcus (a bow, arc, arch).


arch (plural arches)

  1. ​An inverted U shape.
  2. An arch-shaped arrangement of trapezoidal stones, designed to redistribute downward force outward.
  3. (architecture) An architectural element having the shape of an arch
  4. Any place covered by an arch; an archway.
    to pass into the arch of a bridge
  5. (archaic, geometry) An arc; a part of a curve.
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arch (third-person singular simple present arches, present participle arching, simple past and past participle arched)

  1. To form into an arch shape
    The cat arched its back
  2. To cover with an arch or arches.

Related terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From the prefix arch-. "Principal" is the original sense; "mischievous" is via onetime frequent collocation with rogue, knave, etc.


arch (comparative archer, superlative archest)

  1. ​ Knowing, clever, mischievous.
    I attempted to hide my emotions, but an arch remark escaped my lips.
    • Tatler
      [He] spoke his request with so arch a leer.
    • 1906, O. Henry, By Courier
      A certain melancholy that touched her countenance must have been of recent birth, for it had not yet altered the fine and youthful contours of her cheek, nor subdued the arch though resolute curve of her lips.
    • 1912, Zane Grey, Riders of the Purple Sage, Chapter 3
      Lassiter ended there with dry humor, yet behind that was meaning. Jane blushed and made arch eyes at him.
  2. Principal; primary.
    • Shakespeare
      the most arch act of piteous massacre
Derived terms[edit]


arch (plural arches)

  1. (obsolete) A chief.
    • Shakespeare
      My worthy arch and patron comes to-night.

External links[edit]




arch m

  1. sheet (in printing)