a curved masonry construction for spanning an opening, consisting of a number of wedgelike stones, bricks, or the like, set with the narrower side toward the opening in such a way that forces on the arch are transmitted as vertical or oblique stresses on either side of the opening.
an upwardly curved construction, as of steel or timber functioning in the manner of a masonry arch.
a doorway, gateway, etc., having a curved head; an .
the curved head of an opening, as a doorway.

any overhead curvature resembling an arch.
something bowed or curved; any bowlike part:
the arch of the foot.
a device inserted in or built into shoes for supporting the arch of the foot.
a dam construction having the form of a barrel vault running vertically with its convex face toward the impounded water.

a chamber or opening in a glassmaking furnace.

to cover with a vault, or span with an arch:
the rude bridge that arched the flood.
to throw or make into the shape of an arch or vault; curve:
The horse arched its neck.
to form an arch:
elms arching over the road.
Nautical, (def 14).
playfully roguish or mischievous:
an arch smile.
cunning; crafty; sly.
Obsolete. a person who is preeminent; a chief.
Contemporary Examples

When we arrived into Lalish, arches with symbols representing the sun indicated we were nearing the temple complex.
Fighting Back With Faith: Inside the Yezidis’ Iraqi Temple Michael Luongo August 20, 2014

The tomb, though much smaller than the palace, is similarly a vision of ornate twists, arches, and peaks.
The Postman Who Built a Palace in France…by Hand Nina Strochlic November 19, 2014

For the uninitiated, it is the white French castle that is built over a river with arches that give it such a unique dimension.
Michael Clinton: How to Become a Globe-Trotter Michael Clinton March 3, 2013

“That’s Orlando,” Roth explains, referencing one character’s concept of ultimate paradise—the arches of Disney World.
Book of Mormon’s Magnificent Costumes Isabel Wilkinson April 14, 2011

The people faded away, the arches, the vaulted roof vanished.
Read ‘The King in Yellow,’ the ‘True Detective’ Reference That’s the Key to the Show Robert W. Chambers February 19, 2014

Historical Examples

The doorway of Malmesbury Church has eight arches, recessed one within the other.
English Villages P. H. Ditchfield

And the procession marched under one of the arches of the bridge.
L’Assommoir Emile Zola

There were six arches here, of which the two centre ones had a span of 100 ft.
Architecture Thomas Roger Smith

One delicious game seems to have been suggested by the arches in the garden.
Lotus Buds Amy Carmichael

The arches look as if they had supplanted a sixth arch of the nave.
Sketches of Travel in Normandy and Maine Edward A. Freeman

plural noun
(Church of England) Court of Arches, the court of appeal of the Province of Canterbury, formerly held under the arches of Bow Church
a curved structure, normally in the vertical plane, that spans an opening
Also called archway. a structure in the form of an arch that serves as a gateway
something curved like an arch

any of various parts or structures of the body having a curved or archlike outline, such as the transverse portion of the aorta (arch of the aorta) or the raised bony vault formed by the tarsal and metatarsal bones (arch of the foot)
one of the basic patterns of the human fingerprint, formed by several curved ridges one above the other Compare loop1 (sense 10a), whorl (sense 3)

(transitive) to span (an opening) with an arch
to form or cause to form an arch or a curve resembling that of an arch: the cat arched its back
(transitive) to span or extend over: the bridge arched the flooded stream
(prenominal) chief; principal; leading: his arch rival
(prenominal) very experienced; expert: an arch criminal
knowing or superior
playfully or affectedly roguish or mischievous

c.1300, from Old French arche “arch of a bridge” (12c.), from Latin arcus “a bow” (see arc). Replaced native bow (n.1). Originally architectural in English; transferred by early 15c. to anything having this form (eyebrows, etc.).

1540s, “chief, principal,” from prefix arch-; used in 12c. archangel, etc., but extended to so many derogatory uses (arch-rogue, arch-knave, etc.) that by mid-17c. it acquired a meaning of “roguish, mischievous,” since softened to “saucy.” Also found in archwife (late 14c.), variously defined as “a wife of a superior order” or “a dominating woman, virago.”

early 14c., “to form an arch” (implied in arched); c.1400, “to furnish with an arch,” from arch (n.). Related: Arching.

arch (ärch)
An organ or structure having a curved or bowlike appearance, especially either of two arched sections of the bony structure of the foot.

In architecture, a curved or pointed opening that spans a doorway, window, or other space.

Note: The form of arch used in building often serves to distinguish styles of architecture from one another. For example, Romanesque architecture usually employs a round arch, and Gothic architecture, a pointed arch.

an architectural term found only in Ezek. 40:16, 21, 22, 26, 29. There is no absolute proof that the Israelites employed arches in their buildings. The arch was employed in the building of the pyramids of Egypt. The oldest existing arch is at Thebes, and bears the date B.C. 1350. There are also still found the remains of an arch, known as Robinson’s Arch, of the bridge connecting Zion and Moriah. (See TYROPOEON VALLEY.)


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