arch

\ \ [14] English acquired arch via Old French arche and a hypothetical Vulgar Latin *arca from Latin arcuscurve, arch, bow’ (from which English also got arc [14]). When it first came into the language it was still used in the general sense of ‘curve, arc’ as well as ‘curved structure’ (Chaucer in his Treatise on the astrolabe 1391 wrote of ‘the arch of the day … from the sun arising till it go to rest’), but this had died out by the mid 19th century. Vulgar Latin *arca also produced Italian arcata, which entered English via French as arcade in the 18th century. Arch meaning ‘saucy’ is an adjectival use of the prefix arch- (as in archetype).
\ \ Cf.ARC

Word origins - 2ed. . 2005.

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