Definition of


  1. (noun, shape) a curved shape in the vertical plane that spans an opening
  2. (noun, body) a curved bony structure supporting or enclosing organs (especially the inner sides of the feet)
  3. (noun, artifact) a passageway under a curved masonry construction
  4. (noun, artifact) (architecture) a masonry construction (usually curved) for spanning an opening and supporting the weight above it
  5. (verb, motion) form an arch or curve
    her hips curve nicely
  6. (adj, all) (used of behavior or attitude) characteristic of those who treat others with condescension
  7. (adj, all) expert in skulduggery
  8. (adj, all) naughtily or annoyingly playful
    a wicked prank

via WordNet, Princeton University

Origin of the word Arch

  1. c.1300, from O.Fr. arche "arch of a bridge," from L. arcus (see arc). Replaced native bow (n.1). Transferred by 1590 to anything having this form (eyebrows, etc.). The verb meaning "to curve" is from 1620s. Related: Archway (1802). more
  2. 1540s, "chief, principal," from prefix arch- (from Gk. arkhos "chief;" see archon); used in 12c. archangel, etc., but extended to so many derogatory uses (arch-rogue, arch-knave, etc.) that it acquired a meaning of "roguish, mischievous," since softened to "saucy" (1660s). Also found in archwife (late 14c.) "A wife of a superior order." more

via Online Etymology Dictionary, ©2001 Douglas Harper

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