Definitions

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

  • Chief; highest; most important: archenemy.
  • Extreme or most characteristic of its kind: archconservative.
  • Variant of archi-.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • chief, highest, most extreme

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • A prefix signifying chief, as in archbuilder, archfiend.

Etymologies

Middle English arche-, from Old English ærce- and from Old French arche-, both from Latin archi-, from Greek arkhi-, archi-.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin archi-, from Ancient Greek ἀρχι- (archi-), from ἄρχω (archō, "to begin, to lead, to rule, to govern"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Interestingly, as in a string of recent Spielberg offerings, this arch- emotionalising instantly disappears when the director gets out the heavy weaponry: Spielberg is still a peerless constructor of battle and fighting scenes, managing to impart a visceral brutality that is also sensitive to the human cost.

    War Horse – review

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