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Ruler; leader: matriarch.

[Middle English -arche, from Old French, from Late Latin -archa, from Latin -archēs, from Greek -arkhēs, from arkhos, ruler, from arkhein, to rule.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


n combining form
leader; ruler; chief: patriarch; monarch; heresiarch.
[from Greek -arkhēs, from arkhein to rule; compare arch-]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014



1. a curved construction spanning an opening and usu. supporting weight from above or the sides.
2. a doorway or gateway having a curved head; archway.
3. any overhead curvature resembling an arch.
4. something bowed or curved: the arch of the foot.
5. to cover or span with an arch.
6. to form into an arch: a cat arching its back.
7. to form an arch: elms arching over the road.
[1250–1300; < Old French arche < Vulgar Latin *arca, feminine variant of Latin arcus arc]



1. coyly roguish or ironic.
2. crafty; sly.
[1545–55; independent use of arch-1]
arch′ly, adv.
arch′ness, n.


a combining form used to create nouns that denote individuals or institutions directing or having authority over others of their class (archbishop; archdiocese; archpriest); also meaning “principal” (archenemy; archrival) or “prototypical” and thus exemplary or extreme (archconservative).
[Old English arce-, < Latin archi- < Greek; see archi-]


var. of archi- before a vowel: archangel.


a combining form meaning “chief, leader, ruler”: matriarch; monarch.
[< Greek -archos or -archēs, as comb. forms of árchos leader]




1. archaic.
2. archery.
3. archipelago.
4. architect; architecture.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.