Arch definition

Arch meaning

  • ME arche- < OE arce- < L archi-, arch- < Gr archos, first, ruler < archein, begin, rule

    From Webster's New World College Dictionary, 5th Edition

  • < Gr archos: see arch-

    From Webster's New World College Dictionary, 5th Edition

  • Middle English -archefrom Old French from Late Latin -archafrom Latin -archēsfrom Greek -arkhēsfromarkhosrulerfromarkheinto rule

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • Middle English arche-from Old English ærce-and from Old French arche-both from Latin archi-from Greek arkhi-archi-

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • Middle English from Old French archefrom Vulgar Latin arcafrom Latin arcus

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • From arch–

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • From Middle English, from Old French arche (“an arch”) (French arche), a feminine form of arc, from Latinarcus (“a bow, arc, arch”).

    From Wiktionary

  • From Latinarchi-, from Ancient Greek ἀρχι- (archi-), from ἄρχω (archō, “to begin, to lead, to rule, to govern").

    From Wiktionary

  • From the prefix arch-. "Principal" is the original sense; "mischievous" is via onetime frequent collocation with rogue, knave, etc.

    From Wiktionary

  • From Ancient Greek ἀρχαῖος (arkhaios, “ancient”, “primitive”), from ἀρχή (arkhē, “beginning”).

    From Wiktionary

  • Sours:
    \ ˈärchHow to pronounce arch (audio)\

    1: a usually curved part of a structure that is over an opening and that supports a wall or other weight above the opening

    2: the raised area on the bottom of the foot that is formed by a curved section of bones

    3: something that has a curved shapeThere was a slight arch to her arch in the cat's back

    1: a typically curved structural member spanning an opening and serving as a support (as for the wall or other weight above the opening)

    2a: something resembling an arch in form or functionespecially: either of two vaulted portions of the bony structure of the foot that impart elasticity to it

    b: something that has a curved shape like an archThere was a slight arch in her arch in the cat's back

    transitive verb

    1: to cover or provide with an archA bridge arches the stream.

    2: to form into an archShe arched her eyebrows.

    intransitive verb

    1: to form an archTrees arch above the promenade.

    2: to take an arch-shaped courseThe ball arched toward the basket.

    2a: mischievous, saucy

    b: marked by a deliberate and often forced playfulness, irony, or impudenceknown for her arch comments… decided to answer them by being teacherly in a sort of arch, Olympian way.— Gerald Early

    1: chief : principalarchfiend

    2: extreme : most fully embodying the qualities of the kindarchconservative

    : ruler : leadermatriarch

    : having (such) a point or (so many) points of originendarch

    History and Etymology for arch

    Noun and Verb

    Middle English arche, from Anglo-French, from Vulgar Latin *arca, from Latin arcus — more at arrow


    arch- entry 1

    Prefix (1)

    Middle English arche-, arch-, from Old English & Anglo-French; Old English arce-, from Late Latin arch- & Latin archi-; Anglo-French arch-, from Late Latin arch- & Latin archi-, from Greek arch-, archi-, from archein to begin, rule; akin to Greek archē beginning, rule, archos ruler

    Noun combining form

    Middle English -arche, from Anglo-French & Late Latin & Latin; Anglo-French -arche, from Late Latin -archa, from Latin -arches, -archus, from Greek -archēs, -archos, from archein

    Adjective combining form

    probably from German, from Greek archē beginning

    1. F100 lug pattern
    2. Earls assembly row
    3. Acolyte chords
    4. Dr jennifer ashton announcement
    5. Girls easter purses


    This shows grade level based on the word's complexity.



    1. a curved masonry construction for spanning an opening, consisting of a number of wedgelike stones, bricks, or the like, set with the narrower side toward the opening in such a way that forces on the arch are transmitted as vertical or oblique stresses on either side of the opening.
    2. an upwardly curved construction, as of steel or timber functioning in the manner of a masonry arch.
    3. a doorway, gateway, etc., having a curved head; an archway.
    4. the curved head of an opening, as a doorway.

    any overhead curvature resembling an arch.

    something bowed or curved; any bowlike part: the arch of the foot.

    a device inserted in or built into shoes for supporting the arch of the foot.

    a dam construction having the form of a barrel vault running vertically with its convex face toward the impounded water.

    1. a chamber or opening in a glassmaking furnace.
    2. pot arch.

    verb (used with object)

    to cover with a vault, or span with an arch: the rude bridge that arched the flood.

    to throw or make into the shape of an arch or vault; curve: The horse arched its neck.

    verb (used without object)

    to form an arch: elms arching over the road.

    Nautical. hog (def. 14).



    We could talk until we're blue in the face about this quiz on words for the color "blue," but we think you should take the quiz and find out if you're a whiz at these colorful terms.

    Question 1 of 8

    Which of the following words describes “sky blue”?

    Origin of arch


    1250–1300; Middle English arch(e) <Old French arche<Vulgar Latin *arca, feminine variant of Latin arcusarc

    Words nearby arch

    Arcella, Arcesilaus, Arcesius, arcform, arc furnace, arch, archaea, archaean, archaebacteria, archaebacterium, archaeo-

    Other definitions for arch (2 of 7)


    playfully roguish or mischievous: an arch smile.

    cunning; crafty; sly.


    Obsolete. a person who is preeminent; a chief.

    Origin of arch


    Independent use of arch-1

    Other definitions for arch (3 of 7)

    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 of arch-


    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

    Other definitions for arch (4 of 7)

    variant of archi- before a vowel: archangel; archenteron.

    Other definitions for arch (5 of 7)

    a combining form meaning “chief, leader, ruler,” used in the formation of compound words: monarch; matriarch; heresiarch.

    Origin of -arch

    <Greek -archos or -archēs, as comb. forms of árchos leader; cf. archi-

    Other definitions for arch (6 of 7)









    archive; archives.

    Other definitions for arch (7 of 7)


    Archbishop. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

    Words related to arch

    sly, archway, arc, head, champion, expert, leading, top, premier, finished, primary, accomplished, chief, master, consummate, major, main, first, semicircle, span

    How to use arch in a sentence

    • There will be a big blue arch visible from hundreds of yards away to mark the area where online orders can be retrieved.

      Walmart unveils new store design inspired by Amazon and airports|Phil Wahba|September 30, 2020|Fortune

    • People swear that all-you-can-eat buffets could be found at Taco Bell, KFC, and even under the golden arches of McDonald’s.

      Fast-Food Buffets Are a Thing of the Past. Some Doubt They Ever Even Existed.|MM Carrigan|September 29, 2020|Eater

    • If at any point your lower back arches and comes up off the floor, bring your legs and arms back toward the starting position, decreasing the difficulty to the point where you can maintain good form.

      Time-Crunched? Try This Effective 10-Minute Workout|Hayden Carpenter|September 29, 2020|Outside Online

    • High above them, on top of an enormous rock arch, sits an inaccessible house.

      AI planners in Minecraft could help machines design better cities|Will Heaven|September 22, 2020|MIT Technology Review

    • There have been two crashes in excess of 65% for the golden arches in that time.

      Why even the best stocks have to crash|Ben Carlson|September 13, 2020|Fortune

    • On the steps of the old courthouse in the shadow of the arch where Al Sharpton addressed a media horde.

      Michael Brown's Hometown Is Under Occupation|Justin Glawe|August 13, 2014|DAILY BEAST

    • Meanwhile, in the town plaza, arch-rival Brazilian and Argentinian fans were busy hurling insults and beer bottles at one another.

      What Is It About Soccer That Brings Out the Hooligan in Its Fans?|Bill Morris|June 25, 2014|DAILY BEAST

    • This has all fueled attacks against Comstock by her opponents in the primary, who include arch conservative Del.

      Republican Congressional Candidate's Awkward Obama Vote|Ben Jacobs|April 17, 2014|DAILY BEAST

    • In contrast, arch-rival California has lost a half a million.

      Forget What the Pundits Tell You, Coastal Cities are Old News - it’s the Sunbelt that’s Booming|Joel Kotkin|March 1, 2014|DAILY BEAST

    • After a while, as we were arguing about the Thicket, it occurred to us that all in the house save Arch and me had gone to bed.

      ‘The Land of the Permanent Wave’ Is Bud Shrake’s Classic Take on ‘60s Texas|Edwin Shrake|February 2, 2014|DAILY BEAST

    • The way was under a double row of tall trees, which met at the top and formed a green arch over our heads.

      Music-Study in Germany|Amy Fay

    • He thought a little longer, and as he did so, a vision of his arch enemy rose before him.

      The Homesteader|Oscar Micheaux

    • A golden eagle, the armorial ensign of the Ripperda family, crested the centre arch.

      The Pastor's Fire-side Vol. 3 of 4|Jane Porter

    • Bonaparte made his public entry into Milan under a triumphal arch.

      The Every Day Book of History and Chronology|Joel Munsell

    • The girl, without saying a word, takes her by the cold hand, and leads her quickly down to the arch that opens on the hall.

      Checkmate|Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

    British Dictionary definitions for arch (1 of 5)


    a curved structure, normally in the vertical plane, that spans an opening

    Also called: archwaya structure in the form of an arch that serves as a gateway

    something curved like an arch

    1. any of various parts or structures of the body having a curved or archlike outline, such as the transverse portion of the aorta (arch of the aorta) or the raised bony vault formed by the tarsal and metatarsal bones (arch of the foot)
    2. one of the basic patterns of the human fingerprint, formed by several curved ridges one above the otherCompare loop 1 (def. 10a), whorl (def. 3)


    (tr)to span (an opening) with an arch

    to form or cause to form an arch or a curve resembling that of an archthe cat arched its back

    (tr)to span or extend overthe bridge arched the flooded stream

    Word Origin for arch

    C14: from Old French arche, from Vulgar Latin arca (unattested), from Latin arcus bow, arc

    British Dictionary definitions for arch (2 of 5)


    (prenominal)chief; principal; leadinghis arch rival

    (prenominal)very experienced; expertan arch criminal

    knowing or superior

    playfully or affectedly roguish or mischievous

    Derived forms of arch

    archly, adverbarchness, noun

    Word Origin for arch

    C16: independent use of arch-

    British Dictionary definitions for arch (3 of 5)

    combining form

    chief; principal; of highest rankarchangel; archbishop; archduke

    eminent above all others of the same kind; extremearchenemy; archfiend; archfool

    Word Origin for arch-

    ultimately from Greek arkhi-, from arkhein to rule

    British Dictionary definitions for arch (4 of 5)

    n combining form

    leader; ruler; chiefpatriarch; monarch; heresiarch

    Word Origin for -arch

    from Greek -arkhēs, from arkhein to rule; compare arch-

    British Dictionary definitions for arch (5 of 5)

    abbreviation for

    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

    Medical definitions for arch


    An organ or structure having a curved or bowlike appearance, especially either of two arched sections of the bony structure of the foot.

    The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

    Cultural definitions for arch

    In architecture, a curved or pointed opening that spans a doorway, window, or other space.

    notes for arch

    The form of arch used in building often serves to distinguish styles of architecture from one another. For example, Romanesque architecture usually employs a round arch, and Gothic architecture, a pointed arch.

    The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


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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


    Definition arch


    Curved structure that spans a space and may support a load

    This article is about the architectural construct. For other uses of arch or arches, see Arch (disambiguation).

    An arch is a vertical curved structure that spans an elevated space and may or may not support the weight above it,[1] or in case of a horizontal arch like an arch dam, the hydrostatic pressure against it.

    Arches may be synonymous with vaults, but a vault may be distinguished as a continuous arch[2] forming a roof. Arches appeared as early as the 2nd millennium BC in Mesopotamian brick architecture,[3] and their systematic use started with the ancient Romans, who were the first to apply the technique to a wide range of structures.

    Basic concepts[edit]

    An arch is a pure compression form.[4][5][6][7] It can span a large area by resolving forces into compressive stresses, and thereby eliminating tensile stresses. This is sometimes denominated "arch action".[8] As the forces in the arch are transferred to its base, the arch pushes outward at its base, denominated "thrust". As the rise, i. e. height, of the arch decreases the outward thrust increases.[9] In order to preserve arch action and prevent collapse of the arch, the thrust must be restrained, either by internal ties or external bracing, such as abutments.[10]

    Fixed versus hinged arches[edit]

    Rossgraben bridge (Rüeggisberg) near Bern, Switzerland, showing the hingeat mid-span of this three-hinged arch.

    The most common kinds of true arch are the fixed arch, the two-hinged arch, and the three-hinged arch.[11]

    The fixed arch is most often used in reinforced concrete bridges and tunnels, which have short spans. Because it is subject to additional internal stress from thermal expansion and contraction, this kind of arch is considered statically indeterminate.[10]

    The two-hinged arch is most often used to bridge long spans.[10] This kind of arch has pinned connections at its base. Unlike that of the fixed arch, the pinned base can rotate,[12] thus allowing the structure to move freely and compensate for the thermal expansion and contraction that changes in outdoor temperature cause. However, this can result in additional stresses, and therefore the two-hinged arch is also statically indeterminate, although not as much as the fixed arch.[10]

    The three-hinged arch is not only hinged at its base, like the two-hinged arch, yet also at its apex. The additional apical connection allows the three-hinged arch to move in two opposite directions and compensate for any expansion and contraction. This kind of arch is thus not subject to additional stress from thermal change. Unlike the other two kinds of arch, the three-hinged arch is therefore statically determinate.[11] It is most often used for spans of medial length, such as those of roofs of large buildings. Another advantage of the three-hinged arch is that the pinned bases are more easily developed than fixed ones, which allows shallow, bearing-type foundations in spans of medial length. In the three-hinged arch "thermal expansion and contraction of the arch will cause vertical movements at the peak pin joint but will have no appreciable effect on the bases," which further simplifies foundational design.[10]


    The many forms of arch are classified into three categories: circular, pointed, and parabolic. Arches can also be configured to produce vaults and arcades.[10]

    Rounded, i. e. semicircular, arches were commonly used for ancient arches that were constructed of heavy masonry.[13] Ancient Roman builders relied heavily on the rounded arch to span great lengths. Several rounded arches that are constructed in-line and end-to-end in a series form an arcade, e.g. in Roman aqueducts.[14]

    Pointed arches were most often used in Gothic architecture.[15] The advantage of a pointed arch, rather than a circular one, is that the arch action produces less horizontal thrust at the base. This innovation allowed for taller and more closely spaced openings, which are typical of Gothic architecture.[16][17]

    Vaults are essentially "adjacent arches [that] are assembled side by side." If vaults intersect, their intersections produce complex forms. The forms, along with the "strongly expressed ribs at the vault intersections, were dominant architectural features of Gothic cathedrals."[13]

    The parabolic arch employs the principle that when weight is uniformly applied to an arch, the internal compression resulting from that weight will follow a parabolic profile. Of all forms of arch, the parabolic arch produces the most thrust at the base yet can span the greatest distances. It is commonly used in bridges, where long spans are needed.[13]

    The catenary arch has a different shape from the parabolic arch. Being the shape of the curve that a loose span of chain or rope traces, the catenary is the structurally ideal shape for a freestanding arch of constant thickness.

    Forms of arch displayed chronologically, roughly in chronological order of development:


    Bronze Age: ancient Near East[edit]

    True arches, as opposed to corbel arches, were known by a number of civilizations in the ancient Near East including the Levant[contradictory], but their use was infrequent and mostly confined to underground structures, such as drains where the problem of lateral thrust is greatly diminished.[18] An example of the latter would be the Nippur arch, built before 3800 BC,[19] and dated by H. V. Hilprecht (1859–1925) to even before 4000 BC.[20] Rare exceptions are an arched mudbrick home doorway dated to circa 2000 BC from Tell Taya in Iraq[21] and two Bronze Age arched Canaanite city gates, one at Ashkelon (dated to c. 1850 BC),[22] and one at Tel Dan (dated to c. 1750 BC), both in modern-day Israel.[23][24] An Elamite tomb dated 1500 BC from Haft Teppe contains a parabolic vault which is considered one of the earliest evidences of arches in Iran.

    Classical Persia and Greece[edit]

    In ancient Persia, the Achaemenid Empire (550 BC–330 BC) built small barrel vaults (essentially a series of arches built together to form a hall) known as iwan, which became massive, monumental structures during the later Parthian Empire (247 BC–AD 224).[25][26][27] This architectural tradition was continued by the Sasanian Empire (224–651), which built the Taq Kasra at Ctesiphon in the 6th century AD, the largest free-standing vault until modern times.[28]

    An early European example of a voussoir arch appears in the 4th century BC GreekRhodes Footbridge.[29]

    Ancient Rome[edit]

    The ancient Romans learned the arch from the Etruscans, refined it and were the first builders in Europe to tap its full potential for above ground buildings:

    The Romans were the first builders in Europe, perhaps the first in the world, to fully appreciate the advantages of the arch, the vault and the dome.[30]

    Throughout the Roman empire, their engineers erected arch structures such as bridges, aqueducts, and gates. They also introduced the triumphal arch as a military monument. Vaults began to be used for roofing large interior spaces such as halls and temples, a function that was also assumed by domed structures from the 1st century BC onwards.

    The segmental arch was first built by the Romans who realized that an arch in a bridge did not have to be a semicircle,[31][32] such as in Alconétar Bridge or Ponte San Lorenzo. They were also routinely used in house construction, as in Ostia Antica (see picture).

    Ancient China[edit]

    In ancient China, most architecture was wooden, including the few known arch bridges from literature and one artistic depiction in stone-carved relief.[33][34][35] Therefore, the only surviving examples of architecture from the Han Dynasty (202 BC – 220 AD) are rammed earth defensive walls and towers, ceramic roof tiles from no longer existent wooden buildings,[36][37][38]stone gate towers,[39][40] and underground brick tombs that, although featuring vaults, domes, and archways, were built with the support of the earth and were not free-standing.[41][42]

    Roman and Chinese bridges in comparison[edit]

    China's oldest surviving stone arch bridge is the Anji Bridge, built between 595 AD and 605 AD during the Sui Dynasty; it is the oldest open-spandrel segmental arch bridge in stone.[43][44]

    However, the ancient Romans had virtually all of these components beforehand; for example, Trajan's Bridge that was built between 103 AD and 105 AD, had open spandrels built in wood on stone pillars.[45]

    Gothic Europe[edit]

    The first example of an early Gothic arch in Europe is in Sicily in the Greek fortifications of Gela. The semicircular arch was followed in Europe by the pointed Gothic arch or ogive, whose centreline more closely follows the forces of compression and which is therefore stronger. The semicircular arch can be flattened to make an elliptical arch, as in the Ponte Santa Trinita. Parabolic arches were introduced in construction by the Spanish architectAntoni Gaudí, who admired the structural system of the Gothic style, but for the buttresses, which he termed "architectural crutches". The first examples of the pointed arch in the European architecture are in Sicily and date back to the Arab-Norman period.

    Horseshoe arch: Aksum and Syria[edit]

    The horseshoe arch is based on the semicircular arch, but its lower ends are extended further round the circle until they start to converge. The first known built horseshoe arches are from the Kingdom of Aksum in modern-day Ethiopia and Eritrea, dating from ca. 3rd–4th century. This is around the same time as the earliest contemporary examples in Roman Syria, suggesting either an Aksumite or Syrian origin for the type.[46]


    Vaulted roof of an early Harappan burial chamber has been noted from Rakhigarhi.[47]S.R Rao reports vaulted roof of a small chamber in a house from Lothal.[48] Barrel vaults were also used in the Late Harappan Cemetery H culture dated 1900 BC-1300 BC which formed the roof of the metal working furnace, the discovery was made by Vats in 1940 during excavation at Harappa.[49][50][51]

    In India, Bhitargaon temple (450 AD) and Mahabodhi temple (7th century AD) built in by Gupta Dynasty are the earliest surviving examples of the use of voussoir arch vault system in India.[52] The earlier uses semicircular arch, while the later contains examples of both gothic style pointed arch and semicircular arches. Although introduced in the 5th century, arches didn't gain prominence in the Indian architecture until 12th century after Islamic conquest. The Gupta era arch vault system was later used extensively in Burmese Buddhist temples in Pyu and Bagan in 11th and 12th centuries.[53]

    Corbel arch: pre-Columbian Mexico[edit]

    This article does not deal with a different architectural element, the corbel arch. However, it is worthwhile mentioning that corbel arches were found in other parts of ancient Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas. In 2010, a robot discovered a long arch-roofed passageway underneath the Pyramid of Quetzalcoatl, which stands in the ancient city of Teotihuacan north of Mexico City, dated to around 200 AD.[54]


    Since it is a pure compression form, the arch is useful because many building materials, including stone and unreinforced concrete, can resist compression, but are weak when tensile stress is applied to them (ref: similar to the AL-Karparo [8:04]).[55]

    An arch is held in place by the weight of all of its members, making construction problematic. One answer is to build a frame (historically, of wood) which exactly follows the form of the underside of the arch. This is known as a centre or centring. Voussoirs are laid on it until the arch is complete and self-supporting. For an arch higher than head height, scaffolding would be required, so it could be combined with the arch support. Arches may fall when the frame is removed if design or construction has been faulty. The first attempt at the A85 bridge at Dalmally, Scotland suffered this fate, in the 1940s.[citation needed] The interior and lower line or curve of an arch is known as the intrados.

    Old arches sometimes need reinforcement due to decay of the keystones, forming what is known as bald arch.

    In reinforced concrete construction, the principle of the arch is used so as to benefit from the concrete's strength in resisting compressive stress. Where any other form of stress is raised, such as tensile or torsional stress, it has to be resisted by carefully placed reinforcement rods or fibres.[56]

    Other types[edit]

    A depressed arch is one that appears "squashed" down at the top from the full arched shape. In pointed-arch styles, where there is a central point at the top of the arch, it may be a four-centred arch or Tudor arch.

    A blind arch is an arch infilled with solid construction so it cannot function as a window, door, or passageway. These are common as decorative treatments of a wall surface in many architectural styles, especially Romanesque architecture.

    A special form of the arch is the triumphal arch, usually built to celebrate a victory in war. A famous example is the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France.

    Rock formations may form natural arches through erosion, rather than being carved or constructed.[57] Structures such as this can be found in Arches National Park. Some rock balance sculptures are in the form of an arch.

    The arches of the foot support the weight of the human body.[58]


    • Old stone bridge in Kerava, Finland (2011)

    • Lucerne railway station, Switzerland (2010)

    • Stonework arches seen in a ruined stonework building – Burg Lippspringe, Germany (2005)

    See also[edit]


    1. ^"arch, n. 2" Oxford English Dictionary 2nd ed. 2009.
    2. ^"vault, n. 2." The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia Dwight Whitney, ed.. vol. 10. New York. 1911. 6707. Print.
    3. ^"Ancient Mesopotamia: Architecture". The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. Archived from the original on 16 May 2012. Retrieved 16 May 2012.
    4. ^Chilton, John; Isler, Heinz (2000). The Engineer's Contribution to Contemporary Architecture. Thomas Telford. p. 32. ISBN .
    5. ^"Arches and Domes". Retrieved 29 July 2019.
    6. ^Adriaenssens, Sigrid; Block, Philippe; Veenendaal, Diederik; Williams, Chris (21 March 2014). Shell Structures for Architecture: Form Finding and Optimization. Routledge. p. 8. ISBN .
    7. ^Sandaker, Bjørn N.; Eggen, Arne P.; Cruvellier, Mark R. (11 January 2013). The Structural Basis of Architecture. Routledge. p. 326. ISBN .
    8. ^Vaidyanathan, R (2004). Structural Analysis, Volume 2. US: Laxmi Publications. p. 127. ISBN  – via Google Books.
    9. ^Ambrose, James (2012). Building Structures. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. p. 30. ISBN .


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