• Arch


    • UK IPA: /ɑːtʃ/
    • US IPA: /ɑɹtʃ/
    • Rhymes: -ɑː(ɹ)tʃ

    Origin 1

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

    Full definition of arch



    (plural arches)
    1. (inverted U shape)An inverted U shape.
    2. An arch-shaped arrangement of trapezoidal stones, designed to redistribute downward force outward.
    3. (architectural element)(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.


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

    Related terms

    Origin 2

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



    1. (knowing) Knowing, clever, mischievous.I attempted to hide my emotions, but an arch remark escaped my lips.
      • TatlerHe spoke his request with so arch a leer.
      • 1906, O. Henry, 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.
      • Grey Riders|3Lassiter ended there with dry humor, yet behind that was meaning. Jane blushed and made arch eyes at him.
    2. Principal; primary.
      • Shakespearethe most arch act of piteous massacre

    Derived terms



    (plural arches)
    1. (obsolete) A chief.
      • ShakespeareMy worthy arch and patron comes to-night.


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