Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A structure, especially one of masonry, forming the curved, pointed, or flat upper edge of an open space and supporting the weight above it, as in a bridge or doorway.
  • n. A structure, such as a freestanding monument, shaped like an inverted U.
  • n. A curve with the ends down and the middle up: the arch of a raised eyebrow.
  • n. Anatomy An organ or structure having a curved or bowlike appearance, especially either of two arched sections of the bony structure of the foot.
  • transitive v. To provide with an arch: arch a passageway.
  • transitive v. To cause to form an arch or similar curve.
  • transitive v. To bend backward: The dancers alternately arched and hunched their backs.
  • transitive v. To span: "the rude bridge that arched the flood” ( Ralph Waldo Emerson).
  • intransitive v. To form an arch or archlike curve: The high fly ball arched toward the stands.
  • adj. Chief; principal: their arch foe.
  • adj. Mischievous; roguish: an arch glance.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. ​ Knowing, clever, mischievous.
  • adj. Principal; primary.
  • n. An inverted U shape.
  • n. An arch-shaped arrangement of trapezoidal stones, designed to redistribute downward force outward.
  • n. An architectural element having the shape of an arch
  • n. An arc; a part of a curve.
  • v. To form into an arch shape

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Chief; eminent; greatest; principal.
  • adj. Cunning or sly; sportively mischievous; roguish.
  • n. Any part of a curved line.
  • n.
  • n. Usually a curved member made up of separate wedge-shaped solids, with the joints between them disposed in the direction of the radii of the curve; used to support the wall or other weight above an opening. In this sense arches are segmental, round (i. e., semicircular), or pointed.
  • n. A flat arch is a member constructed of stones cut into wedges or other shapes so as to support each other without rising in a curve.
  • n. Any place covered by an arch; an archway.
  • n. Any curvature in the form of an arch.
  • n. A chief.
  • intransitive v. To form into an arch; to curve.
  • transitive v. To cover with an arch or arches.
  • transitive v. To form or bend into the shape of an arch.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To cover with a vault, or span with an arch.
  • To throw into the shape of an arch or vault; curve: as, the horse arches his neck.
  • To form an arch or arches: as, the sky arches overhead.
  • Chief; principal; preëminent. See arch-.
  • Cunning; sly; shrewd; waggish; mischievous for sport; roguish: now commonly used of facial expression: as, “so arch a leer,”
  • n. A chief; a leader.
  • n. 1. In geometry, any part of the circumference of a circle or other curve; an arc. See arc
  • n. In architecture, a structure built of separate and inelastic blocks, assembled on a curved line in such a way as to retain their position when the structure is supported extraneously only at its two extremities.
  • n. Any place covered with an arch or a vault like an arch: as, to pass through the arch of a bridge.
  • n. Any curvature in the form of an arch: as, the arch of the aorta; the arch of an eyebrow, of the foot, of the heavens, etc.
  • n. In mining, a portion of a lode left standing, either as being too poor for profitable working or because it is needed to support the adjacent rock.
  • n. The roofing of the fire-chamber of a furnace, as a reverberatory or a glass-furnace; hence, sometimes, the fire-chamber itself.
  • n. A box or chest; in plural, archives.
  • n. The ark of Noah.
  • n. The ark of the covenant.
  • n. Chief; principal: a prefix much used in composition with words both of native and of foreign origin. See arch.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. form an arch or curve
  • adj. naughtily or annoyingly playful
  • n. a curved bony structure supporting or enclosing organs (especially the inner sides of the feet)
  • n. (architecture) a masonry construction (usually curved) for spanning an opening and supporting the weight above it
  • adj. (used of behavior or attitude) characteristic of those who treat others with condescension
  • adj. expert in skulduggery
  • n. a passageway under a curved masonry construction
  • n. a curved shape in the vertical plane that spans an opening

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French arche, from Vulgar Latin *arca, from Latin arcus.
From arch-1.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English, from Old French arche ("an arch") (French arche), a feminine form of arc, from Latin arcus ("a bow, arc, arch"). (Wiktionary)
From the prefix arch-. "Principal" is the original sense; "mischievous" is via onetime frequent collocation with rogue, knave, etc. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • MISCELLANEOUS WORDS. adobe _ado'ba_ algebra not _bra_ alien _alyen_, not _alien_ ameliorate _amelyorate_ antarctic _antarktik_ anti not _anti_ archangel _arkangel_ archbishop _arch_, not _ark_ arch fiend _arch_, not _ark_ architect _arkitect_ awkward _awkward_, not _ard_

    Practical Grammar and Composition

  • Especially rich were the half-dome of the apse and the wall-space surrounding its arch and called the _triumphal arch_; next in decorative importance came the broad band of wall beneath the clearstory windows.

    A Text-Book of the History of Architecture Seventh Edition, revised

  • The development of fan-vaulting had led to the adoption of a new form of arch, the four-centred or _Tudor arch_ (Fig. 133), to fit under the depressed apex of the vault.

    A Text-Book of the History of Architecture Seventh Edition, revised

  • As late as the first half of the tenth century we meet with the term arch-acolyte in Luitprand of Cremona

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 1: Aachen-Assize

  • The signification of the term arché, already used, was sufficiently comprehensive to include that of aitía, since all causes come necessarily under the head of principles.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 3: Brownson-Clairvaux

  • I particularly related to buying earrings on the street and to looking at how gorgeous the arch is at night.

    Nostalgia. «

  • The base of the arch is a piece of hand-dyed fabric, with a large number of skeleton leaves attached with free motion quilting (mostly a meander with a few leaves and flowers thrown in).

    Blue flowery arch

  • I'm never too interested in monuments and touristy attractions, but I do think the arch is a very beautiful creation, rising sleekly into the sky at the bank of the Mississippi river, denoting the border between Missouri and Illinois.

    Archive 2007-05-01

  • I have big enough feet that I can fit into guys boots, but the arch is always in the wrong spot for me.

    Girl-ified Gear

  • Sometimes interruption of the aortic arch is diagnosed on a fetal ultrasound and/or fetal echocardiogram.

    Interruption of the Aortic Arch

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Comments

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  • That pirate should have been wearing protective arch supports.

    October 27, 2010

  • It's what a pirate exclaims when he drops a cannonball on his toe.

    October 27, 2010

  • I've seen this form used as an intransitive verb meaning "to engage in archery; to shoot a bow", as a backformation from "archery".

    October 27, 2010

  • "He was also known for weaving together seemingly unrelated themes in an arch, self-deprecating way that helped break down the image of the critic as an all-knowing figure who wrote from atop a pedestal."
    The New York Times, October 3, 2007, Herbert Muschamp Obit

    October 4, 2007

  • I like the sense of mischievous

    July 12, 2007

  • Also, Professor Moriarty's way off the Holodeck.

    January 28, 2007

  • The secondary definition is especially interesting:

    1. playfully roguish or mischievous: an arch smile.
    2. cunning; crafty; sly.

    January 28, 2007