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arch-1

1.
a combining form that represents the outcome of archi- in words borrowed through Latin from Greek in the Old English period; it subsequently became a productive form added to nouns of any origin, which thus denote individuals or institutions directing or having authority over others of their class (archbishop; archdiocese; archpriest). More recently, arch-1, has developed the senses “principal” (archenemy; archrival) or “prototypical” and thus exemplary or extreme (archconservative); nouns so formed are almost always pejorative.
Origin
Middle English; Old English arce-, ærce-, erce- (> Old Norse erki-) < Latin archi- < Greek (see archi-); but Dutch aarts-, Middle Low German erse-, Middle High German, German Erz- < Medieval Latin arci-, and Gothic ark- directly < Greek. Cf. archangel

arch-2

1.
variant of archi- before a vowel:
archangel; archenteron.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for arch-

arch-

combining form
1.
chief; principal; of highest rank: archangel, archbishop, archduke
2.
eminent above all others of the same kind; extreme: archenemy, archfiend, archfool
Word Origin
ultimately from Greek arkhi-, from arkhein to rule
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for arch-

also archi-, word-forming element meaning "chief, principal; extreme, ultra; early, primitive," from Latinized form of Greek arkh-, arkhi- "first, chief, primeval," comb. form of arkhos "chief" (see archon).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Difficulty index for arch-

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Word Value for arch

9
9
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