There are 2 definitions of arch in English:


Syllabification: arch
Pronunciation: /ärCH


  • 1A curved symmetrical structure spanning an opening and typically supporting the weight of a bridge, roof, or wall above it.
    More example sentences
    • The result brings to mind support structures for vaulted arches (for instance Gaudi's Sagrada Familia).
    • The arches supporting the weight above still held as strong as the day they were built.
    • The primary structure of steel arches was chosen to span a cavernous underground cistern, part of the city's drainage system, and avoid underwater foundations.
    archway, vault, span, dome
  • 1.1An arched structure forming a passageway or a ceremonial monument: a triumphal arch
    More example sentences
    • That feature most symbolic of entrance, the triumphal arch, is to be found only at the foot of the Capitol, where the ancient texts place it.
    • Pusading's ornamental arch has a pair of stone lions and the stone wall facing them was apparently built to block their vision.
    • The Corinthia consists of two curving towers, one slightly taller than the other, linked by a cavernous reception area topped by a triumphal arch.
  • 1.2A shape resembling an arch or a thing with such a shape: the delicate arch of his eyebrows
    More example sentences
    • The Helium filled balloons which had formed an arch of honour over the entrance gate were tied to the two coaches and accompanying cars to make for a colourful entryway.
    • At the church entrance John's rowing companions formed an arch of oars, under which John's remains passed.
    • Under the arch of her eyebrows, her wide brown eyes glowed with their vague hint of secrecy, their quiet incandescence.
    curve, bow, bend, arc, curvature, convexity; hunch, crook
  • 1.3The inner side of the foot.
    More example sentences
    • Start off by massaging your entire foot - heel, arch and toes.
    • Flat feet, low arches, and loose ligaments also contribute to the formation of bunions.
    • Most of it's standard - obviously if you spend a lot of time crouched over, you'll have a sore back - but I'm slightly worried that the arches of my feet hurt.


Back to top  
  • 1 [no object] Have the curved shape of an arch: a beautiful bridge that arched over a canal
    More example sentences
    • And the tree grew thick, leafy branches that arched over the boy.
    • But the reward was generous - a tremulous rainbow arched over the mountains, shaggy with greenery.
    • All of a sudden, the sky cleared, became blue and a perfect rainbow arched over me with one end in the sand.
  • 1.1Form or cause to form the curved shape of an arch: her eyebrows arched in surprise [with object]: she arched her back
    More example sentences
    • Larry glanced at Adam, eyebrows arching in surprise.
    • Louis took the letter, his eyebrows arching in surprise, and thanked the secretary.
    • Her face was pale, very pale - her golden eyebrows slightly arched in surprise as she saw me.
  • 2 [with object] (usually as adjective arched) Provide (a bridge, building, or part of a building) with an arch: high arched windows
    More example sentences
    • A long-span, arched structure would have been heavy, bulky and difficult to carry down into the pit.
    • On the street level, the lower sections of the large windows are frosted, while the upper arched openings are clear.
    • Supporters believe that once the design is perfected, arched wooden bridges will also be able to be used to span roads and take motor traffic.
  • 2.1 archaic or • literary Span (something) by or as if by an arch: the vine arched his evening seat
    More example sentences
    • A mass of rock had arched him over—or, rather, the hand of God, as if by miracle, had delivered the Christian miner.
    • The main nave is arched by a barrel vault with sectors, as is the presbytery, where the sectors are convergent.
    • It is difficult to imagine a more dramatic setting for these 18-hole masterpieces, with fairways abutting ancient lava flows, tees surrounded by palm groves, and greens arched by rainbows created in the ocean mist.


Middle English: from Old French arche, based on Latin arcus 'bow' (see arc).

More definitions of arch

Definition of arch in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day astrogation
Pronunciation: ˌastrəˈgāSHən
(in science fiction) navigation in outer space

There are 2 definitions of arch in English:


Syllabification: arch
Pronunciation: /


  • Deliberately or affectedly playful and teasing: arch observations about even the most mundane matters
    More example sentences
    • If my arch tone suggests some skepticism about his sincerity, it's not meant to.
    • Instinctive, impulsive melodies meet melancholia and melodrama in gay tales of arch commentary and frank observation.
    • They have made six shimmering albums packed with arch observations, yet their world remains small, their vision unique.
    mischievous, teasing, knowing, playful, roguish, impish, cheeky, tongue-in-cheek
    informal saucy



More example sentences
  • ‘You will observe,’ wrote Jawaharlal Nehru archly to a Cabinet colleague, ‘that we have disturbed the hornet's nest and I believe most of us are likely to be badly stung.’
  • ‘Of course I have,’ she countered archly, ‘you just forgot.’
  • ‘He thinks it's ostentatious,’ says Boss archly.


More example sentences
  • The archness doesn't really get in the way of the crime fighting, but it does lift this book from potentially boring to perfectly diversionary summer reading.
  • There is no archness in the presentation of this stuff; it does not read with a hint of irony, it has no sly jokes between the lines, no punchlines whatsoever.
  • I found this a satisfying device, teetering on archness, but successful in maintaining a playful tone.


mid 16th century (in the sense 'chief, principal'): from arch-, because of its association with words such as rogue.

More definitions of arch

Definition of arch in: