"one who shoots arrows from a (long) bow," late 13c., from Anglo-French archer, Old French archier "archer; bow-maker," from Late Latin arcarius, alteration of Latin arcuarius "maker of bows," from arcus "bow" (see arc (n.)). The classical Latin word was arquites "archers;" the Greeks shunned archery as an unmanly tactic, and the Romans seem to have had little appreciation for it until their later encounters with mounted barbarian archers.
Also a 17c. name for the bishop in chess. As a type of tropical fish, 1834, from its shooting drops of water at insects. For "archer" Middle English had bowman, also scutte, from Old English scytta, also bender (which also meant "maker of bows," a surname).
updated on September 24, 2022