"pertaining to archaeology," 1766, in the antiquarian sense, from archaeology + -ical. Earlier was archaeologic (1731). Related: Archaeologically.
"hidden, secret," 1540s, from Latin arcanus "secret, hidden, private, concealed," from arcere "to close up, enclose, contain," from arca "chest, box, place for safe-keeping," from PIE root *ark- "to hold, contain, guard" (source also of Greek arkos "defense," arkein "to ward off;" Armenian argel "obstacle;" Lithuanian raktas "key," rakinti "to shut, lock").
late 14c., orange bright star in the constellation Bootes (also used of the whole constellation), from Latin Arcturus, from Greek Arktouros, literally "guardian of the bear" (the bright star was anciently associated with nearby Ursa Major, the "Big Dipper," which it seems to follow across the sky). For first element see arctic; second element is Greek ouros "watcher, guardian, ward" (from PIE root *wer- (3) "perceive, watch out for"). It is fourth-brightest of the fixed stars. The double nature of the great bear/wagon (see Big Dipper) has given two different names to the constellation that follows it: Arktouros "bear-ward" and Bootes "the wagoner."
Arcturus in the Bible (Job ix.9 and xxxviii.32) is a mistranslation by Jerome (continued in KJV) of Hebrew 'Ayish, which refers to what we see as the "bowl" of the Big Dipper. In Israel and Arabia, the seven stars of the Great Bear seem to have been a bier (the "bowl") followed by three mourners. In the Septuagint it was translated as Pleiada, which is equally incorrect.
1540s, "chief, principal," from separate use of the prefix arch-, which is attested from late Old English (in archangel, archbishop, etc.). The prefix figured in so many derogatory uses (arch-rogue, arch-knave, etc.) that by mid-17c. it had acquired a meaning of "roguish, mischievous," softened by 19c. to "saucy." The shifting sense is exemplified by archwife (late 14c.), variously defined as "a wife of a superior order" or "a dominating woman, virago." Related: Archly; archness.
"of the earliest geological age," 1872, coined by U.S. geologist and zoologist James Dwight Dana (1813-1895) from Latinized form of Greek arkhaios "ancient," from arkhē "beginning," verbal noun of arkhein "to be the first," hence "to begin" and "to rule" (see archon).
1810, from or by influence of French archaique (1776), ultimately from Greek arkhaikos "old-fashioned," from arkhaios "ancient, old-fashioned, antiquated, primitive," from arkhē "beginning, origin," verbal noun of arkhein "to be the first," hence "to begin" and "to rule" (see archon). Not merely crude, the archaic has "a rudeness and imperfection implying the promise of future advance" [Century Dictionary]. Archaical is attested from 1799.
alternative spelling of archaeologist. Also see æ (1).
alternative spelling of archaeology. Also see æ (1).