# Arch vs. Arc: What's the Difference?

Edited by Harlon Moss || By Janet White || Updated on October 12, 2023
Arch is primarily a curved structure supporting weight above, while Arc refers to a portion of a circle or curve.

## Key Differences

Arch is often used in the context of architecture and construction. It's a structure with a curved shape, usually at the top, which can bear the weight of materials above it. Arc, on the other hand, refers to a segment or part of a circle or any other curve.
In the world of design, an Arch can be an aesthetic or functional element in buildings, bridges, or doorways. Arc, in mathematical or geometrical terms, represents a continuous portion of a circle.
Arch can also be used in a metaphorical sense, suggesting superiority or preeminence, such as "archenemy". Arc can denote a trajectory or path, like the arc of a basketball shot.
When it comes to human anatomy, Arch might refer to the curved part of the foot. In contrast, Arc might describe a movement or shape, like the arc a dancer's arm makes during a performance.
In literature, Arch might be used to describe a narrative structure, like a story's overarching theme. Arc, conversely, could represent a character's developmental trajectory or journey.

## Comparison Chart

### Definition

A curved structure supporting weight above.
A segment of a circle or a curve.

### Usage in Sentence

"The stone arch stood majestically over the river."
"The rainbow formed a beautiful arc in the sky."

### Field of Relevance

Architecture, anatomy, literature.
Mathematics, geometry, physics.

### Metaphorical Use

Suggests superiority or dominance.
Represents a trajectory or path.

### Related Words

Archway, archbishop, archenemy.
Arcane, archaic, archipelago.

## Arch and Arc Definitions

#### Arch

A curved structure that spans an opening and supports weight.
The ancient Roman arches are marvels of engineering.

#### Arc

The path described by a projectile flying or an object moving under the influence of given forces.
The soccer ball followed a high arc before landing in the goal.

#### Arch

The inward curve of the sole of the foot.
The doctor examined the arch of my foot for any abnormalities.

#### Arc

A part of the circumference of a circle or other curve.
He drew a perfect arc on the paper.

#### Arch

Playfully roguish or mischievous.
She gave him an arch glance, teasing him about his secret.

#### Arc

An electric current, often strong, brief, and luminous, in which electrons jump across a gap.
The scientist observed the arc in the laboratory equipment.

#### Arch

An overarching theme or narrative.
The arch of the storyline captivated the readers.

#### Arc

A shape or structure resembling part of a circle.
The bridge had several decorative arcs along its side.

#### Arch

Chief; principal.
Her arch concern was the well-being of her family.

#### Arc

Something shaped like a curve or arch
The vivid arc of a rainbow.

#### Arch

A usually curved structure forming the upper edge of an open space and supporting the weight above it, as in a bridge or doorway.

#### Arc

(Mathematics) A segment of a circle.

#### Arch

A structure, such as a freestanding monument, shaped like an inverted U.

An electric arc.

#### Arch

A curve with the ends down and the middle up:the arch of a raised eyebrow.

#### Arc

(Astronomy) The apparent path of a celestial body as it rises above and falls below the horizon.

#### Arch

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

#### Arc

A progression of events suggesting narrative cohesion, especially one that rises to a climax and settles to a final conclusion.

#### Arch

To provide with an arch:arch a passageway.

To form an arc.

#### Arch

To cause to form an arch or similar curve.

#### Arc

To move or seem to move in a curved path
The stars that arc across the sky.

#### Arch

To bend backward:The dancers alternately arched and hunched their backs.

#### Arc

(astronomy) That part of a circle which a heavenly body appears to pass through as it moves above and below the horizon.

#### Arch

To span:"the rude bridge that arched the flood"(Ralph Waldo Emerson).

#### Arc

(geometry) A continuous part of the circumference of a circle (circular arc) or of another curve.

#### Arch

To form an arch or archlike curve:The high fly ball arched toward the stands.

#### Arc

A curve, in general. Category:en:Curves

Chief; principal
Their arch foe.

#### Arc

A band contained within parallel curves, or something of that shape.

#### Arch

Mischievous; roguish
"She ... was arch enough to inform the queen whenever I committed any folly that she thought would be diverting to her majesty" (Jonathan Swift).

#### Arc

(electrics) A flow of current across an insulating medium; especially a hot, luminous discharge between either two electrodes or as lightning.

#### Arch

Teasing, ironic, or sardonic
"I know, Edy Boardman said none too amiably with an arch glance from her shortsighted eyes. I know who is Tommy's sweetheart" (James Joyce).

A story arc.

#### Arch

An inverted U shape.

#### Arc

(mathematics) A continuous mapping from a real interval (typically [0, 1]) into a space.

#### Arch

An arch-shaped arrangement of trapezoidal stones, designed to redistribute downward force outward.

#### Arc

(graph theory) A directed edge.

#### Arch

(architecture) An architectural element having the shape of an arch

#### Arc

The three-point line.

#### Arch

Any place covered by an arch; an archway.
To pass into the arch of a bridge

#### Arc

(film) An arclight.

#### Arch

An arc; a part of a curve.

#### Arc

(ambitransitive) To move following a curved path.

#### Arch

A natural arch-shaped opening in a rock mass.

#### Arc

(transitive) To shape into an arc; to hold in the form of an arc.

#### Arch

(anatomy) Curved part of the bottom of a foot.

#### Arc

(intransitive) To form an electrical arc.

(obsolete) chief

#### Arc

A portion of a curved line; as, the arc of a circle or of an ellipse.

#### Arch

To form into an arch shape.
The cat arched its back

#### Arc

A curvature in the shape of a circular arc or an arch; as, the colored arc (the rainbow); the arc of Hadley's quadrant.

#### Arch

To cover with an arch or arches.

#### Arc

An arch.
Statues and trophies, and triumphal arcs.

#### Arch

Knowing, clever, mischievous
I attempted to hide my emotions, but an arch remark escaped my lips.

#### Arc

The apparent arc described, above or below the horizon, by the sun or other celestial body. The diurnal arc is described during the daytime, the nocturnal arc during the night.

#### Arch

Principal; primary
They were arch enemies.

#### Arc

To form a voltaic arc, as an electrical current in a broken or disconnected circuit.

#### Arch

Any part of a curved line.

#### Arc

Electrical conduction through a gas in an applied electric field

#### Arch

Usually a curved member made up of separate wedge-shaped solids, with the joints between them disposed in the direction of the radii of the curve; used to support the wall or other weight above an opening. In this sense arches are segmental, round (i. e., semicircular), or pointed.

#### Arc

A continuous portion of a circle

#### Arch

Any place covered by an arch; an archway; as, to pass into the arch of a bridge.

#### Arc

Something curved in shape

#### Arch

Any curvature in the form of an arch; as, the arch of the aorta.

#### Arc

Form an arch or curve;
Her back arches
Her hips curve nicely

#### Arch

A chief.
My worthy arch and patron comes to-night.

#### Arc

A continuous progression or line of development.
The character had a compelling story arc in the series.

#### Arch

To cover with an arch or arches.

#### Arch

To form or bend into the shape of an arch.
The horse arched his neck.

#### Arch

To form into an arch; to curve.

#### Arch

Chief; eminent; greatest; principal.
The most arch act of piteous massacre.

#### Arch

Cunning or sly; sportively mischievous; roguish; as, an arch look, word, lad.
[He] spoke his request with so arch a leer.

#### Arch

A curved shape in the vertical plane that spans an opening

#### Arch

A curved bony structure supporting or enclosing organs (especially arches of the feet)

#### Arch

A passageway under an arch

#### Arch

(architecture) a masonry construction (usually curved) for spanning an opening and supporting the weight above it

#### Arch

Form an arch or curve;
Her back arches
Her hips curve nicely

#### Arch

(of persons) highest in rank or authority or office;
His arch rival

#### Arch

(used of behavior or attitude) characteristic of those who treat others with condescension

#### Arch

Expert in skulduggery;
An arch criminal

## FAQs

#### How is "arc" used in mathematics?

In mathematics, an "arc" refers to a segment or part of a circle or curve.

#### Can "arch" be used as an adjective?

Yes, "arch" can be an adjective meaning primary, chief, or playfully mischievous.

#### How does "arc" relate to electricity?

An "arc" can refer to an electric current, especially a brief, strong, and luminous one, where electrons jump across a gap.

#### Are "arch" and "arc" related etymologically?

While both words have roots in Latin and Old French, "arch" primarily comes from the Latin "arcus" meaning "bow" or "curve", and "arc" also originates from "arcus" but in the sense of "a part of a circle".

#### Is there a difference between the arch of a foot and an architectural arch?

Yes, while both refer to a curve, the former relates to the anatomy of the foot, and the latter to a supportive structure in buildings.

#### Can "arch" refer to something dominant or superior?

Yes, "arch" as an adjective can mean chief or principal, as in "archenemy".

#### Can "arc" denote a trajectory?

Yes, "arc" can refer to the path of a projectile or any object moving under certain forces.

#### What is an arch in architectural terms?

An arch is a curved structure, often made of stone or brick, designed to span an opening and support weight from above.

#### How are arches used in bridges?

Arches in bridges distribute weight and forces, enabling the bridge to span larger distances without collapsing.

#### What does "arc" mean in the context of narratives?

In narratives, an "arc" refers to the development or resolution of a character or storyline over time.

#### What's the meaning of "story arc"?

A "story arc" is a continuous storyline or theme in literature or entertainment.

#### How does one pronounce "arch" and "arc"?

"Arch" is pronounced as /ɑːrtʃ/ and "arc" as /ɑːrk/.

#### Can the term "arch" relate to hierarchy?

Yes, "arch" can denote something of top rank or importance, like "archbishop".

#### Are there other architectural elements similar to an "arch"?

Yes, besides the basic arch, there are variations like the "pointed", "segmental", and "horseshoe" arches, each with distinct shapes and uses.

#### Does "arc" have any symbolic meanings?

Symbolically, "arc" can represent a journey, progression, or a bridging between two points or ideas.

#### How is "arc" used in the context of welding?

In welding, "arc" refers to the electric current that flows between the electrode and the metal being welded, producing heat to melt and join them.