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arch 1 (ärch)
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n.
1. A usually curved structure forming the upper edge of an open space and supporting the weight above it, as in a bridge or doorway.
2. A structure, such as a freestanding monument, shaped like an inverted U.
3. A curve with the ends down and the middle up:the arch of a raised eyebrow.
4. Anatomy An organ or structure having a curved or bowlike appearance, especially either of two arched sections of the bony structure of the foot.
v.arched, arch·ing, arch·es
v.tr.
1. To provide with an arch:arch a passageway.
2. To cause to form an arch or similar curve.
3. To bend backward:The dancers alternately arched and hunched their backs.
4. To span:"the rude bridge that arched the flood"(Ralph Waldo Emerson).
v.intr.
To form an arch or archlike curve:The high fly ball arched toward the stands.

[Middle English, fromOld Frencharche, fromVulgar Latin*arca, fromLatinarcus.]
(click for a larger image)
arch1
semicircular arch
A. keystone
B. voussoirs
C. springers
D. imposts

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 
arch- 1
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pref.
1. Chief; highest; most important: archenemy.
2. Extreme or most characteristic of its kind: archconservative.

[Middle English arche-, from Old English ærce- and from Old French arche-, both from Latin archi-, from Greek arkhi-, archi-.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 
arch- 2
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pref.
Variant of archi-.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 
arch 2 (ärch)
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adj.
1. Chief; principal: their arch foe.
2.
a. Mischievous; roguish: "She ... was arch enough to inform the queen whenever I committed any folly that she thought would be diverting to her majesty" (Jonathan Swift).
b. Teasing, ironic, or sardonic: "I know, Edy Boardman said none too amiably with an arch glance from her shortsighted eyes. I know who is Tommy's sweetheart" (James Joyce).

[From ARCH-1.]

archly adv.
archness n.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 
-arch
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suff.
Ruler; leader: matriarch.

[Middle English -arche, from Old French, from Late Latin -archa, from Latin -archēs, from Greek -arkhēs, from arkhos, ruler, from arkhein, to rule.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 
arch.
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abbr.
1.
a. archaic
b. archaism
2. archipelago
3.
a. architect
b. architecture

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices

    Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:

    Indo-European Roots

    Semitic Roots

    The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.

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