arch-

arch-

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

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arch-

2
variant of archi- before a vowel: archangel; archenteron.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
arch- or archi-
 
combining form
1.  chief; principal; of highest rank: archangel; archbishop; archduke
2.  eminent above all others of the same kind; extreme: archenemy; archfiend; archfool
 
[ultimately from Greek arkhi-, from arkhein to rule]
 
archi- or archi-
 
combining form
 
[ultimately from Greek arkhi-, from arkhein to rule]

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