See also: ARCH, ärch, arch-, -arch, and arch.

English

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arch (sense 3).

Pronunciation

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Etymology 1

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From Middle English arch, arche, from Old French arche (an arch), a feminine form of arc, from Latin arcus (a bow, arc, arch). Doublet of arc and arco. Displaced native Old English bīeġels.

Noun

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arch (plural arches)

  1. An inverted U shape.
  2. An arch-shaped arrangement of trapezoidal stones, designed to redistribute downward force outward.
  3. (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.
  6. A natural arch-shaped opening in a rock mass.
  7. (anatomy) The curved part of the bottom of a foot.
Derived terms
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Translations
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The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Verb

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arch (third-person singular simple present arches, present participle arching, simple past and past participle arched)

  1. (transitive) To form into an arch shape.
    The cat arched its back.
    • 2024 March 6, Philip Haigh, “Comment: Who will run our railways?”, in RAIL, number 1004, page 3:
      GBR will either be letting operating contracts or running rail companies directly, depending on which party wins the next General Election. Whichever it is, you can be forgiven for arching an eyebrow at an infrastructure company being placed in overall control.
  2. (transitive) To cover with an arch or arches.
Translations
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References

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Etymology 2

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

Adjective

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arch (comparative archer, superlative archest)

  1. Knowing, clever, mischievous.
    I attempted to hide my emotions, but an arch remark escaped my lips.
    • 1710 July 15 (Gregorian calendar), Isaac Bickerstaff [et al., pseudonyms; Richard Steele et al.], “Tuesday, July 4, 1710”, in The Tatler, number 193; republished in [Richard Steele], editor, The Tatler, [], London stereotype edition, volume III, London: I. Walker and Co.;  [], 1822, →OCLC:
      [He] spoke his request with so arch a leer.
    • 1726 October 28, [Jonathan Swift], “Several Adventures that Happened to the Author. []”, in Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World. [] [Gulliver’s Travels], volume I, London: [] Benj[amin] Motte, [], →OCLC, part II (A Voyage to Brobdingnag), page 247:
      I was every day furniſhing the Court with ſome ridiculous Story; and Glumdalclitch, although ſhe loved me to Exceſs, yet was arch enough to inform the Queen, whenever I committed any Folly that ſhe thought would be diverting to her Majeſty.
    • 1828, [Edward Bulwer-Lytton], chapter XVI, in Pelham; or, The Adventures of a Gentleman. [], volume I, London: Henry Colburn, [], →OCLC, page 112:
      “Oh!” cried Mrs. Green, with an arch laugh, “you are acquainted with Monsieur Margot, then?”
    • 1848 November – 1850 December, William Makepeace Thackeray, chapter 46, in The History of Pendennis. [], volumes (please specify |volume=I or II), London: Bradbury and Evans, [], published 1849–1850, →OCLC:
      Blanche’s grey eyes gazed at Foker with such an arch twinkle that both of them burst out laughing []
    • 1906 April, O. Henry [pseudonym; William Sydney Porter], “By Courier”, in The Four Million, New York, N.Y.: McClure, Phillips & Co, →OCLC:
      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.
    • 1912 January, Zane Grey, chapter 3, in Riders of the Purple Sage [], New York, N.Y., London: Harper & Brothers Publishers, →OCLC:
      Lassiter ended there with dry humor, yet behind that was meaning. Jane blushed and made arch eyes at him.
    • 2017 June 30, Ruth La Ferla, “In ‘The Beguiled,’ Pretty Confections Whipped Up to Seduce”, in The New York Times[1], →ISSN:
      Not trusting filmgoers to catch the drift, Ms. Coppola underscores the women’s attempts to gussy up with snippets of arch dialogue.
    • 2021 July 12, Nicholas Barber, “The French Dispatch: Four stars for Wes Anderson's latest”, in BBC[2]:
      When you're watching a Wes Anderson film, you know it. Within seconds, you spot the symmetrical compositions, the horizontal camera moves, the blocks of garish colour, the san-serif lettering, the arch, wordy, vaguely melancholy humour and all the other elements that distinguish his comedies from everyone else's.
    • 2023 March 14, Alexandra Jacobs, “Your Annoying Roommate Is Slaying on TikTok”, in The New York Times[3]:
      Ms. Brier specializes in point of view, or P.O.V., videos that confront relatable, often hateable characters, with a subtle sneer, gleefully rubbery body and arch delivery of generational catchphrases like “slay, queen” and “I got you,” often repeated for effect.
  2. Principal; primary.
    They were arch enemies.
Derived terms
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Translations
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The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Noun

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arch (plural arches)

  1. (obsolete) chief

See also

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Further reading

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Anagrams

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Czech

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Noun

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arch m inan

  1. sheet (in printing)

Declension

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Middle Dutch

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Etymology 1

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From Old Dutch *arg, from Proto-Germanic *argaz.

Adjective

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arch

  1. bad, depraved
  2. wrong, evil
  3. shameful
  4. bad, worthless, of low quality
Inflection
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Adjective
Masculine Feminine Neuter Plural
Nominative Indefinite arch arge arch arge
Definite arge arge
Accusative Indefinite argen arge arch arge
Definite arge
Genitive archs arger archs arger
Dative argen arger argen argen
Alternative forms
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Derived terms
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Descendants
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  • Dutch: arg, erg

Etymology 2

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A substantive form of the adjective arch.

Noun

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arch n

  1. evil
  2. disaster, misfortune
Inflection
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This noun needs an inflection-table template.

Further reading

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Middle English

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Alternative forms

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Etymology

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From Old French arche.

Noun

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arch (plural arches)

  1. arch
  2. arc

Descendants

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References

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Middle Welsh

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Etymology

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From the root of erchi (to request), from Proto-Celtic *ɸarsketi, from Proto-Indo-European *preḱ-.

Pronunciation

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Noun

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arch f

  1. request

Verb

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arch

  1. second-person singular imperative of erchi

Mutation

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Middle Welsh mutation
Radical Soft Nasal H-prothesis
arch unchanged unchanged harch
Note: Some of these forms may be hypothetical. Not every
possible mutated form of every word actually occurs.

Scots

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Noun

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arch (plural archs)

  1. Alternative form of airch

References

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Welsh

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Pronunciation

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Etymology 1

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From Middle Welsh arch, from Proto-Brythonic *arx, from Latin arca.

Noun

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arch f (plural eirch)

  1. (obsolete) chest, coffer
  2. coffin (a box for the dead)
    • 2020 February 28, BBC Cymru Fyw[4]:
      Mae’r arddangosfa yn ymchwilio i’r modd y caiff y corff dynol ei gadw wedi marwolaeth. Penllanw deng mlynedd o waith yw’r casgliad o jariau claddu ac eirch carreg maint llawn.
      The exhibition explores the way in which the human body is preserved after daeth. The collection of burial jars full-size stone coffins is the culmination of ten years' work.
  3. ark (a large boat with a flat bottom)
    • 1588, William Morgan, transl., Y Beibl : Y Beibl cyssegr-lan, 1st edition, London: Humphrey Toy, LLyfr cyntaf Moſes yr hwn a elwir Gᴇɴᴇsɪs 6:2–14:
      A Duw a ddywedodd wrth Noah, diwedd pôb cnawd a ddaeth ger fy mron: o blegit llanwyd y ddaiar a thrawſedd oi herwydd hwynt: ac wele myfi ai difethaf hwynt gyd ar ddaiar. Gwna di it Arch o goed Gopher, yn gellau y gwnei'r Arch, a phŷga hi oddi fewn, ac oddi allan a phŷg.
      And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth. Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch.
Derived terms
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Etymology 2

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A back-formation from erchi (to seek, ask for).

Noun

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arch f (plural eirchion)

  1. request, command
Derived terms
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Etymology 3

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An inflected form of erchi (to seek, ask for).

Verb

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arch

  1. second-person singular imperative of erchi

Mutation

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Welsh mutation
radical soft nasal h-prothesis
arch unchanged unchanged harch
Note: Some of these forms may be hypothetical. Not every possible mutated form of every word actually occurs.

Further reading

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  • R. J. Thomas, G. A. Bevan, P. J. Donovan, A. Hawke et al., editors (1950–present), “arch”, in Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru Online (in Welsh), University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh & Celtic Studies