arch-

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.
[ME; OE arce-, aerce-, erce- ( > ON erki-) < L archi- < Gk (see ARCHI-); but D aarts-, MLG erse-, MHG, G Erz- < ML arci-, and Goth ark- directly < Gk. Cf. ARCHANGEL]
arch-2
var. of archi- before a vowel: archangel; archenteron.

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