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I have seen the word 'arch' used as a verb in the context of a villain causing trouble for a hero, or a hero thwarting a villain. It is also used when a villain is actively trying to become a hero's primary nemesis. I've only seen it in comedic or informal settings, or when talking about a hero/villain relationship. It probably sprang from 'arch-enemy', but I'm trying to find where and when this phrasing was first used. Can this be sourced to a particular work? How long has this usage been around?

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    (Arches a mystified look). I've not seen this usage. Can you link to any examples? Nov 4 '13 at 1:59
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    "I'm Trying to arch here, this is how it's done!" -The Monarch, Venture Brothers, episode 36. The Monarch is a villain, explaining to the heroes why he's doing what he's doing. It's also used in a synopsis of the episode [here] (venturefans.org/vbwiki/The_Lepidopterists).
    – ATayloe
    Nov 4 '13 at 12:58
  • I wouldn't say the writer there is a "compentent native speaker". For example, "The duo ... quickly dispose of the captain via a tranquilizer dart, which incidentally forms an addiction for the captain." looks like very strange phrasing to me, and the guy certainly can't spell. Anyway, unless you can find several other similar instances, I think most likely you're looking at one [clumsy, imho) writer being "creative" with his usage. Sometimes he uses "arch" as a noun (short for "arch-enemy", obviously). Other times it's just a verb meaning "play the role of an arch-enemy")... Nov 4 '13 at 15:11
  • ...such devices (using an adjective as a verb or noun) are common in ephemeral/casual contexts. For most native speakers, the meaning will be clear in context, but it would be stretching a point to say it's "English" as might be recorded by dictionaries and grammar books. Nov 4 '13 at 15:14
  • @FumbleFingers I am aware the usage is not '"English" as it might be recorded by dictionaries and grammar books', hence the tagging of my question with 'slang' and 'neologisms'. I have heard the word used in person, but was having trouble finding it in a more formal use online. I know the meaning, I was looking for the source.
    – ATayloe
    Jan 19 '14 at 22:07
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I think the verb to arch (to be an arch-enemy or do arch-enemy things against a hero) is from The Venture Bros. cartoon and mostly restricted to the programme and its fans.

The top entry on Urban Dictionary is:

1. arCH

arch, to arch /ahrCH/
verb transitive

to desire to cause harm, foil plans, and generally create aggression against targeted individuals or groups, used esp. with supervillains

We go around "arching" people at work.

[arch] [venture bro] [monarch] [adult swim] [rusty]

by Dr Girlfriend October 26, 2011
23 up, 14 down

You'll notice the tags include "venture bro", so it appears to be only used in reference to the The Venture Bros. cartoon. The person who added it used a username, Dr. Girlfriend, which is an alias of the character Dr. Mrs. The Monarch in the same cartoon.

The Monarch used the verb in episode 36, "The Lepidopterists" of The Venture Bros. (original airdate: Aug 3, 2008):

I'm trying to arch here, this is how it's done!

It was also used in episode 30 (June 22, 2008):

Sgt. Hatred - The one thing I've learned is there's no good reason on God's green earth that arching has to be a completely unpleasant experience for either of us.

In Episode 34 (July 20, 2008):

HENCHMAN 24
He went arching? Without us?

HENCHMAN 21
Ow! Oh! We don't get to do anything! I'm like this close to arching the paperboy!

And Episode 10 (October 9, 2004):

Dr. Girlfriend: I'm flattered boys, but I'm with the Monarch now. And you know he's been arching Dr. Venture

The verb is used a lot by fans in The Archer Bros. wiki.

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  • Thanks. I first heard the word used by Aureli Voltaire, describing his relationship to Doc Hammer (one of the Venture Bros. creators). I had assumed the usage started with the Venture Bros, but wanted to know if there had been an earlier usage I missed.
    – ATayloe
    Jan 19 '14 at 22:10
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I don't think that arching in this context means "to thwart"; I think that "to arch" is a verb whose usage is mostly constrained to the Venture Bros., where it refers to the organized practice of comicbook-style rivalry characterized in the relationship between a hero and her arch -nemesis.

The Monarch arches, or plays archnemesis to, Dr. Venture.

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