An arch is a shape that resembles an upside down "U." You may find this shape in a carefully tweezed eyebrow or in the famous golden pair that make you hunger for a Big Mac.

In architecture, an arch is an opening that is often found supporting the weight of a something above it — like a bridge or a wall. In downtown St. Louis, you can visit the Gateway Arch — a freestanding catenary arch that is 630 feet tall and 630 feet wide. As a verb, arch means to make an arch-like shape. "She stretched her back by arching it into a backbend." As an adjective, arch can describe something mischievous or sly: "He teased his friend with an arch comment about his shyness around girls."

Primary Meanings of arch

(architecture) a masonry construction (usually curved) for spanning an opening and supporting the weight above it
form an arch or curve
(used of behavior or attitude) characteristic of those who treat others with condescension
Full Definitions of arch

n (architecture) a masonry construction (usually curved) for spanning an opening and supporting the weight above it

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abutment arch
an arch supported by an abutment
broken arch
an arch with a gap at the apex; the gap is usually filled with some decoration
camber arch
an arch with a straight horizontal extrados and a slightly arched intrados
corbel arch
(architecture) an arch constructed of masonry courses that are corbelled until they meet
flat arch, straight arch
an arch with mutually supporting voussoirs that has a straight horizontal extrados and intrados
pier arch
an arch supported on piers
pointed arch
an arch with a pointed apex; characteristic of Gothic architecture
proscenium arch
the arch over the opening in the proscenium wall
rampant arch
an arch whose support is higher on one side than on the other
round arch
an arch formed in a continuous curve; characteristic of Roman architecture
rowlock arch
an arch that is formed with more than one concentric row of voussoirs
safety arch
an undecorated arch that is included in order to strengthen or support a construction
scoinson arch, sconcheon arch
an arch that supports part of the wall
segmental arch
a shallow arch; an arch that is less than a semicircle
shouldered arch
an arch consisting of a horizontal lintel supported at each end by corbels that project into the aperture
diminished arch, scheme arch, skeen arch, skene arch
an arch whose height is less than half its width
skew arch
an arch whose jambs are not at right angles with the face
a small arch built across the interior angle of two walls (usually to support a spire)
trimmer arch
an arch built between trimmers in a floor (to support the weight of a hearth)
triumphal arch
a monumental archway; usually they are built to commemorate some notable victory
Tudor arch, four-centered arch
a low elliptical or pointed arch; usually drawn from four centers
bell arch
a round arch resting on corbels
drop arch
a blunt pointed arch drawn from two centers within the span
Gothic arch
a pointed arch; usually has a joint (instead of a keystone) at the apex
Moorish arch, horseshoe arch
a round arch that widens before rounding off
keel arch, ogee arch
a pointed arch having an S-shape on both sides
Roman arch, semicircular arch
a round arch drawn from a single center
basket-handle arch, three-centered arch
a round arch whose inner curve is drawn with circles having three centers
trefoil arch
a pointed arch having cusps in the intrados on either side of the apex
trumpet arch
a conical squinch
Type of:
construction, structure
a thing constructed; a complex entity constructed of many parts

n a passageway under a curved masonry construction

“they built a triumphal arch to memorialize their victory”
Type of:
entrance, entranceway, entree, entry, entryway
something that provides access (to get in or get out)

n a curved shape in the vertical plane that spans an opening

Type of:
curve, curved shape
the trace of a point whose direction of motion changes

n a curved bony structure supporting or enclosing organs (especially the inner sides of the feet)

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metatarsal arch
the short lateral arch formed by the heads of the metatarsals
the arch of the foot
pectoral arch, shoulder girdle
the bony arch formed by the collarbones and shoulder blades in humans
haemal arch, hemal arch
a structure arising ventrally from a vertebral centrum and enclosing the caudal blood vessels
neural arch, vertebral arch
a structure arising dorsally from a vertebral centrum and enclosing the spinal cord
fallen arch, sunken arch
an instep flattened so the entire sole rests on the ground
Type of:
skeletal structure
any structure created by the skeleton of an organism

v form an arch or curve

“her back arches
arc, curve
curve upward in the middle
Type of:
bend, flex
form a curve

adj (used of behavior or attitude) characteristic of those who treat others with condescension

condescending, patronising, patronizing
of or characteristic of high rank or importance

adj naughtily or annoyingly playful

impish, implike, mischievous, pixilated, prankish, puckish, wicked
full of fun and high spirits

adj expert in skulduggery

“an arch criminal”
having or showing or requiring special skill

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