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

  • n. Bible The chest containing the Ten Commandments written on stone tablets, carried by the Hebrews during their desert wanderings. Also called Ark of the Covenant.
  • n. Judaism The Holy Ark.
  • n. Bible The boat built by Noah for survival during the Flood.
  • n. Nautical A large, commodious boat.
  • n. A shelter or refuge.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A large box with a flat lid.
  • n. The ship built by Noah to save his family and a collection of animals from the deluge.
  • n. Something affording protection; safety, shelter, refuge
  • n. A spacious type of boat with a flat bottom.
  • n. A consecrated container.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A chest, or coffer.
  • n. The oblong chest of acacia wood, overlaid with gold, which supported the mercy seat with its golden cherubs, and occupied the most sacred place in the sanctuary. In it Moses placed the two tables of stone containing the ten commandments. Called also the Ark of the Covenant.
  • n. The large, chestlike vessel in which Noah and his family were preserved during the Deluge. Gen. vi. Hence: Any place of refuge.
  • n. A large flatboat used on Western American rivers to transport produce to market.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To inclose in an ark.
  • n. An old spelling of arc, a bow, arch.
  • n. A chest, box, coffer, or other close receptacle; a bin or hutch: as, a meal-ark.
  • n. In Scripture: The repository of the covenant or tables of the law.
  • n. The large floating vessel in which, according to the account in the Old Testament, Noah and his family were preserved during the deluge.
  • n. The vessel of bulrushes in which the infant Moses was laid.
  • n. In the Ethiopic Ch., a sacred chest, called the tabout, serving as an altar.
  • n. A large boat used on western American rivers to transport produce to market.
  • n. In zoology, a name common to the bivalve mollusks of the family Arcidœ; an ark-shell.
  • n. An Arabian measure of capacity, equal to the Spanish fanega, or 58 quarts; also, a measure of three fourths of this capacity, or 43 quarts.

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

  • n. a boat built by Noah to save his family and animals from the flood
  • n. (Judaism) sacred chest where the ancient Hebrews kept the two tablets containing the Ten Commandments


Middle English, from Old English arc, from Germanic *arka, from Latin arca, chest.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old English ærc, from Latin arca ("chest, box, coffer"), from arcere ("to keep"). (Wiktionary)



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  • Look, "list" isn't awful; Schindler does indeed keep a list. But "ark" has so many more layers of resonance.

    March 12, 2008

  • Thomas Keneally: Schindler's Ark
    Published as Schindler's List
    (this was also the title of the movie adaptation)

    March 12, 2008