Main definitions of arch in English

: arch1arch2

arch1

noun

  • 1A curved symmetrical structure spanning an opening and typically supporting the weight of a bridge, roof, or wall above it.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The two main parabolic arches of the bridge create two continuous, tilted, tied arches as the support spans for this unique steel structure.’
    • ‘Slim metal ribs flare out and up from the spinal arches to support the copper-clad roof, its overlapping scales resembling a giant turtle shell.’
    • ‘The result brings to mind support structures for vaulted arches (for instance Gaudi's Sagrada Familia).’
    • ‘As the walkway passes between great arches in the wall, and outside to ground level, it turns into a glass balustraded bridge.’
    • ‘Even in the church, a carved stone head of uncertain origin was found buried in a wall above a window arch in the building's north transept.’
    • ‘The triple arch on Bridge Street, which spans the main road into town from Lurgan and Gilford, is similar to one photographed in the same place in 1933.’
    • ‘Medina structures with Arabic-style arches and crenellated walls are usually found in the oldest parts of town.’
    • ‘No attempts were made to solve the problems of spanning large distances by the use of the arch, vault or dome, which were by this time common in other parts of the world.’
    • ‘According to a newspaper report, the first arch spanned the River Severn on 2nd July 1779.’
    • ‘Instead, right from the beginning, arches were used to span spaces and to support the weight above.’
    • ‘The system uses the timeless forms of arches, domes, and vaults to create single and double-curvature shell structures that are both strong and beautiful.’
    • ‘Some of the arches are cut through walls while others support curved ceilings (vaults).’
    • ‘The station's main entrance is characterized by three elegant arches that are supported on huge Ionic columns.’
    • ‘The room was rectangular, and there were murals of columns supporting Gothic arches on the walls within.’
    • ‘The new bridge had to span the river with a single arch, without intermediate columns interrupting the water's flow or passage of river traffic.’
    • ‘The arches supporting the weight above still held as strong as the day they were built.’
    • ‘Each of the five roof arches is flexed across its width, turning it into a stiff double curvature shell.’
    • ‘The simple lessons of the making of an arch, a wall, or a column form the architect's most fundamental vocabulary.’
    • ‘Compressive form-active structures are also produced in metal, usually in the form of lattice arches or vaults, to achieve very long spans.’
    archway, vault, span, dome
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 An arch forming a monument or ornamental feature.
      ‘a triumphal arch’
      • ‘An impression of the original statue group on top may be gained from the chariot groups on the triumphal arch in the relief on the south.’
      • ‘Behind the column is the vast triumphal arch that joins the two wings of the General Staff Building.’
      • ‘Within the city, notable monuments include a splendid arch and a screen of gods of late second or early third century date.’
      • ‘His successes are commemorated in a number of grandiose effigies, triumphal arches, vast frescoes and victory columns.’
      • ‘Pusading's ornamental arch has a pair of stone lions and the stone wall facing them was apparently built to block their vision.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In the late third century the site was levelled, including the triumphal arch, and a larger Saxon Shore fort constructed in stone, the walls of which now dominate the site.’
      • ‘It was also reported that at numerous places on the road from Levens Hall to the entrance to Kendal, several triumphal arches and other forms of decorations were on show.’
      • ‘Most of them were monuments to Leopold himself: triumphal arches, palaces, seaside resorts, museums, parks, royal châteaux and even golf courses.’
      • ‘On it was erected a triumphal arch in Augustus's honor.’
      • ‘In Roman baths and on triumphal arches there were other ways of expressing height.’
      • ‘The Corinthia consists of two curving towers, one slightly taller than the other, linked by a cavernous reception area topped by a triumphal arch.’
      • ‘The city grew up around its Roman monuments, which include a semicircular theatre and a triumphal arch.’
      • ‘The first treasure the society fought to preserve was the monumental arch at Euston station, a supreme example of Greek revival architecture.’
      • ‘The scale of the triumphal arch is gargantuan and this is reinforced by its highly simplified architectural detail.’
      • ‘The lower frame is modelled as a triumphal arch flanked by bound captives.’
      • ‘The areas outside were enclosed and equipped with triumphal arches and calvaires - essentially Crucifixion scenes on poles, set about with extraordinarily rich biblical scenes.’
      • ‘The new stadium's most dramatic feature will be a 133-metre high arch, visible across London.’
      • ‘Formerly senior lecturer in classics at Royal Holloway, Peter Howell is writing a book on triumphal arches.’
      • ‘The reverse commemorates the building of his triumphal arch, which still stands in Rome beside the Coliseum.’
    2. 1.2 A shape resembling an arch.
      ‘the delicate arch of his eyebrows’
      • ‘Airport staff waved flags as Concorde taxied to a halt through an arch of water cannon provided by the airport fire service.’
      • ‘Te Namu sat on a triangular arch of sand, bounded on one side by a steep cliff and cut off on another by a stream.’
      • ‘Under the arch of her eyebrows, her wide brown eyes glowed with their vague hint of secrecy, their quiet incandescence.’
      • ‘Through the arch of the cave, as far as the eye can see, misted peaks sit, poised like advancing waves.’
      • ‘At the church entrance John's rowing companions formed an arch of oars, under which John's remains passed.’
      • ‘He placed his big hand over his clown mask and slid it back to rest on the gentle arch of his nose, like a snug pair of glasses, then his jaws took a mighty bite.’
      • ‘I watched as an arch of water doused the flames we had left behind.’
      • ‘I didn't have to fake the confused arch of my eyebrows or the incredulous glint to my stare.’
      • ‘He knew that because it was in the shape of an arch formed by elephant tusks.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The upper arch of the full lunette shape, although not indicated in the print, can be easily imagined as fitting over the design.’
      • ‘We passed under the arch of green creepers and entered my room.’
      • ‘The arch of her eyebrow cast her face in an expression of amusement.’
      • ‘As the levator ani passes downward both anteriorly and posteriorly, it forms an arch of muscular tissue, also called a sling.’
      • ‘These people who had so little had a welcoming party to meet the group and they had built an arch of welcome out of greenery.’
      • ‘I went upstairs to see the extraordinary arch of honour made of printed pages he did for Maximiliam I.’
      • ‘The arch of the lower cable reflects that of the upper cable.’
      • ‘The queen of the skies taxied onto the apron at Ringway through a welcoming arch of water canons blasted from a pair of airport fire engines.’
      curve, bow, bend, arc, semicircle, sweep
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3 The inner side of the foot.
      ‘the muscles in the arch of my right foot suddenly seized up’
      • ‘The shank is 3/4 length, which helps the bones in my feet because my arch can sit on it and I don't have to work so much.’
      • ‘Flat feet, low arches, and loose ligaments also contribute to the formation of bunions.’
      • ‘Slowly work your way up your foot - the top, the ball, the arch, the heel; up your leg to your hip… and then do the other side.’
      • ‘Stretching the two big toes toward each other and the little toes away from each other strengthens and lifts the three arches of the foot.’
      • ‘The demonstrators don't appear to have high arches or ridiculously small feet either as, alas, do I.’
      • ‘No one really knows what causes these sudden, painful muscle spasms in the calf, the thigh or the arch of the foot.’
      • ‘She also had a procedure to create arches on each foot because she was born without any.’
      • ‘This is true of many people with low arches or flat feet.’
      • ‘A foot with a high arch, on the other hand, will have a large indentation and a very narrow band connecting the ball of the foot to the heel.’
      • ‘He himself had suffered for years with falling arches in his feet and had been recommended to use orthotics in the soles of his shoes.’
      • ‘Your weight should be neutral, balanced over the arches of your feet.’
      • ‘Sitting on the ground with your knees slightly bent and your legs out in front of you, place a towel around the arches of your feet, then hold an end with each hand, arms bent.’
      • ‘Start off by massaging your entire foot - heel, arch and toes.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Also, as people age, their feet become longer and wider, the padding on the heels and balls of the feet thins and the arches tend to fall a bit.’
      • ‘When excessive, high arches or flat feet can cause compensatory rotation in the tibia and other mechanical stressors in the legs, leading to pain and predisposing to injury.’
      • ‘If the bridge between the heel and the front foot is less than one-third the width of your heel, you have a high arch - your feet are begging for cushioning.’
      • ‘In contrast, the A. afarensis bone resembled that of the flat-footed apes, making it improbable that its foot had an arch like our own.’
      • ‘The arches of the feet are maintained by strong ligaments which are prevented from stretching by muscles in the legs.’
      • ‘Raise your right heel as you gently press your metatarsal arch (where your toes join your foot) into the floor.’

verb

  • 1no object, with adverbial of place Have the curved shape of an arch.

    ‘a beautiful bridge that arched over a canal’
    • ‘The tub-shaped space within the parapet, formerly open to the air and sun, was now arched over by a light dome of lath-work covered with felt.’
    • ‘Drive down the narrow country lane, trees arching above you, and turn into the unmarked drive and past the pond, and you could be entering an elite golf club, secluded from the Oxfordshire countryside that embraces it.’
    • ‘The fronds were stiffened by ice and arched over the trickle like a tunnel of swords at a wedding.’
    • ‘The trail arched gently around a broad bay towards Krios headland, the corner of Crete, and a tiny chapel whose whitewashed walls gleamed like a beacon.’
    • ‘All over the city, the authorities have put up large billboards featuring bucolic scenes of date palms arched over a river bank.’
    • ‘A 15th century Genoese bridge arched over a boulder-strewn stream near the remains of an old mill, once used for making chestnut flour.’
    • ‘The man trees arched over the house, as if shielding it from the elements.’
    • ‘He was stood before a stretch of thick, dark trees that arched over a long cut of clear land; Lia presumed it was used as a path.’
    • ‘The long-faded remains of a painted rainbow can just be seen on a sewer pipe arching over the canal nearby.’
    • ‘As they approached from a side street, the magnificent Ponte Vecchio came into view, arched over the river Arno.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The front fenders help to balance the density of the rear by arching above the hood to create a sense of power.’
    • ‘Brick stringcourses decorated rough stucco walls, while semicircular lunettes arched over the main floor windows.’
    • ‘Trees arching over the banks of the creek are lit silvery orange by the glow of campfires and the night sky.’
    1. 1.1 Form or cause to form the curved shape of an arch.
      no object ‘her eyebrows arched in surprise’
      with object ‘she arched her back’
      • ‘He stared a long time, his eyebrow slowly arching.’
      • ‘Holding a barbell, stand with your knees slightly bent, your chest out and your back slightly arched.’
      • ‘Larry glanced at Adam, eyebrows arching in surprise.’
      • ‘I wondered what the drivers were thinking of, arched over their steering wheels, nose-to-tail in the rush hour jam.’
      • ‘His head, arched over the pillow and framed by the blanket folded beneath his chin, was illuminated by pale moonlight.’
      • ‘To kiss this fabled rock first you must lie, arched backwards, leaning out from the castle's parapet with a 27-metre drop below.’
      • ‘She laughed at that and looked at him with one eyebrow arched.’
      • ‘‘Grandmother,’ I addressed her tartly, one eyebrow arching uncontrollably.’
      • ‘He glanced in her direction and his eyebrows arched in surprise when he saw her.’
      • ‘Jen places her feet close together and, with her lower back tight and slightly arched, bends at the knees and hips.’
      • ‘Rachel stared after him in mild surprise, her eyebrow arched and her emerald gaze thoughtful.’
      • ‘‘Ray give that to me,’ I cut in sharply, causing Ray's eyebrows to arch in surprise.’
      • ‘Jake only laughed hollowly, one eyebrow arching.’
      • ‘Her face was pale, very pale - her golden eyebrows slightly arched in surprise as she saw me.’
      • ‘Kato couldn't prevent his eyebrow from arching at that statement.’
      • ‘Louis took the letter, his eyebrows arching in surprise, and thanked the secretary.’
      • ‘Evan glanced at him while they walked, eyebrows arching.’
      • ‘Eyebrows arched, he crossed his arms stubbornly over his chest.’
      • ‘What followed had eyebrows arching everywhere.’
      • ‘His eyebrows sharply arched as he continued to read the letter.’
      curve, bow, bend, arc, curl
      View synonyms

Origin

Middle English: from Old French arche, based on Latin arcus ‘bow’.

Pronunciation

arch

/ɑːtʃ/

Main definitions of arch in English

: arch1arch2

arch2

adjective

  • Deliberately or affectedly playful and teasing.

    ‘a somewhat arch tone of voice’
    • ‘If my arch tone suggests some skepticism about his sincerity, it's not meant to.’
    • ‘There are arch literary allusions, plenty of knockabout energy, and two complementary personae on show.’
    • ‘They have made six shimmering albums packed with arch observations, yet their world remains small, their vision unique.’
    • ‘Two years ago, such an observation was appropriately arch, zeroing in on the silliness of such campaign press stunts.’
    • ‘I attempted to hide my emotions, but an arch remark escaped my lips.’
    • ‘It was said with a pleasantly arch tone, neither serious nor sarcastic.’
    • ‘It appears my habit of arch sarcasm might be a mistake.’
    • ‘The quick, dark eye, with its beautifully formed eyebrow, seemed to presage the arch remark, to which the rosy and half-smiling lip appeared ready to give utterance.’
    • ‘I can't really think of a clever dismissal or arch comment to make about this.’
    • ‘Instinctive, impulsive melodies meet melancholia and melodrama in gay tales of arch commentary and frank observation.’
    • ‘Near is particularly adept at the arch delivery typical of his uptight businessman in the early scenes.’
    knowing, playful, mischievous, puckish, roguish, impish, elfin, devilish, naughty, wicked, cheeky, teasing, saucy, flippant, tongue-in-cheek
    View synonyms

Origin

Mid 17th century: from arch-, by association with the sense ‘rogue’ in combinations such as arch-scoundrel.

Pronunciation

arch

/ɑːtʃ/