a combining form with the general sense “first, principal,” that is prefixed to nouns denoting things that are earliest, most basic, or bottommost (archiblast; archiphoneme; architrave); or denoting individuals who direct or have authority over others of their class, usually named by the base noun (archimandrite; architect). Also, esp. before a vowel,arch-.Cf. arch- 1 , arche-.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.