I hear the word architect used as a verb in the technical field and now more often in other industries and groups, for example:

We need to architect a better solution to the problem.

I am interested if this is considered acceptable usage, as I see this word being used more in published technical documents (not necessarily books, but corporate publications).

I can see how a conductor can conduct, a typist can type, but can a scientist "science"? A scientist might research, analyze, and so forth, as an architect might design, create, build, etc.

Merriam-Webster defines architect as a noun, however, I have been told that other dictionaries exist that define architect as both a noun and a verb — is there a credible reference or source that authoritatively answers this question?

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    Be aware that different people might react differently to inventing complicated words in place of simpler ones. Some might see it as a sign of sophistication and of belonging to the right kind of people in the field. Others might not understand why you wouldn't just use the simple word (in this case, "find", or even "invent"), and think it must be just an ephemeral vogue word —especially people outside the field. [/obligatory comment] Jan 13, 2011 at 17:20
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    On a personal note: I have increasingly heard and seen architect used as a verb and to me, this has never sounded or looked right and often appears in "corporatespeak".
    – bn01
    Jan 13, 2011 at 17:25
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    Thank you!! Incidentally, I do feel that Orwell did us a great favour in that he made us aware of the "dangers" of x-speak before the outbreak of commercial television. Jan 13, 2011 at 17:46
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    In the words of Calvin: "Verbing weirds language."
    – user3444
    Jan 13, 2011 at 17:59
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    I'd put it this way: Today, practically no one objects to engineer as a verb, and practically no one approves of dentist as a verb. Architect as a verb is still at a fairly early stage in the transition from dentisting to engineering.
    – Sven Yargs
    Jan 17, 2014 at 3:02

10 Answers 10


Traditionally "architect" is a noun only, but it is increasingly common to hear it used as a verb, though usually in business or technical situations where jargon is very common. Since the language is largely defined by its usage, and (as Robusto notes) nouns often become verbs and vice versa, it's hard to say that it's wrong - but many consider it poor style, and in formal writing (especially if intended for an audience unfamiliar with business-speak) it might be better to choose an alternative that conveys the required meeting - perhaps "design", or "build", or even "think of" or "solve" in the specific example you gave :-)

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    "Architect" as a verb (and noun) is common in the IT industry where it carries a different meaning to "design" or "build." A "Software Architect" is a specialised job that goes beyond software design as it will incorporate all parts of the business process. Outside of the IT domain, I have never heard of a building architect "architecting" a house.
    – dave
    Aug 7, 2011 at 13:12
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    @dave - while it is common in the IT industry, I work in software myself and I don't really hear the verb usage by the people who actually do the 'architecting' - it's used by management or wannabe architects who want to sound authoritative. Real software architects always talk about 'designing' IMO
    – tinyd
    Oct 18, 2011 at 14:53
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    @tinyd - IMHO, "architect" and "design" are different things (with overlap) which are often confused by those who do not understand the difference.
    – dave
    Oct 18, 2011 at 23:14
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    @dave - That's a fair comment - I agree that there is a difference between designing a particular module of software and linking lots of these modules together into an overall architecture. But to come back to the original question, I never hear the verb 'architect' used (without a degree of irony, anyhow) to describe the latter activity by the people that actually do it. But maybe it's one of those usages that varies from company to company.
    – tinyd
    Oct 19, 2011 at 14:10
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    I work in the web world, and "design" usually refers to the visual design of a website. So for me to say I "designed" a website is misleading: I'm a software engineer, and I provided the technical architecture, but I was not involved in the visual design of the site. We have artists for that. So I feel that the use of "architect" as a verb is a useful one, if only to distinguish artistic design from technical design. Oct 16, 2013 at 17:31

Merriam-Webster’s Third International lists “architect” as a verb. So does the Oxford English Dictionary (probably the most authoritative and prestigious dictionary ever compiled for any human language), with citations going back to the early eighteen hundreds:

To design (a building). Also transf. and fig.

1818 Keats Let. July (1958) I. 350 This was architected thus By the great Oceanus. [But see architecture v.]

1890 Harper's Mag. Apr. 809/2 We would not give being the author of one of Mr. Aldrich's beautiful sonnets to be the author of many ‘Wyndham Towers’, however skilfully architected.

1913 W. Raleigh Some Authors (1923) 3 He has come out of the prison-house of theological system, nobly and grimly architected.

Personally, as a data architect, I find this a useful verb, since I use it to include analysis and integration, as well as design. It also encompasses the standards for deliverables associated with the architecture process.

Those who do not find this term useful are not required to use it. But it is inappropriate to sneer at those who do.

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    Ah: an answer with supporting references. Could you add links and the subject-specific definition/s? May 8, 2017 at 13:43
  • Just so it's said, the accepted edit does come with citation, it's just up above in the original part of the answer. As for the link, I believe the link only works for those with a subscription so it's not accurate to post, am I correct?
    – Hank
    Jun 9, 2017 at 14:38
  • @Hank links to the online OED only work for people who have a subscription to it. Jun 9, 2017 at 14:45
  • @Clare That's what I thought. That's why I voted to approve. The text reference is there, but the link would be ineffective to many so I think not adding it was the correct choice.
    – Hank
    Jun 9, 2017 at 14:46

It is both a verb and a noun. Curiously, most English nouns can become verbs just by using them in that sense, and vice versa. "Gift" has become a verb lately.

I gifted him with a pen-and-pencil set.

Verbs also become nouns. In David Mamet's play Glengarry Glen Ross the salesmen talk about going on a sit, meaning making a sales pitch in someone's living room.

So you can safely say

He was the head architect on that project


She architected a whole new genre of glass sculpture.

Addendum: See The Give That Keeps On Gifting, an ELU blog article I wrote on this topic nearly two years later.

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    Sorry, while I am mostly OK with increasingly pure positional grammar of English-as-we-use-it, I shall resist "to architect" 'till my dying breath. It's an attempt to mean "to design" while sounding more important. Pure marketspeak, also known as drivel. Jan 13, 2011 at 17:56
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    @dmckee: OK, just don't let me ever catch you "Googling" anything. Or "shuttering" a house. Or "penning" a document. The fact is, English is pragmatic, and when people have a need to turn verbs into nouns or nouns into verbs, they do so, and the results get recorded by dictionaries.
    – Robusto
    Jan 13, 2011 at 18:28
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    @Robusto: Many instances of verbing provide a new word to replace a pre-exisiting phrase. I "google" rather than "search the web" on a regular basis. Using architect as a verb provides no such service to the language, though it does serve as a marker for a person who may well be full of shit. Jan 13, 2011 at 18:57
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    @Robusto: The verb "to pen" has been around since at least the time of Shakespeare ("google" for "it is excellently well penned"). Does "to shutter" a house mean to install shutters, or to close the existing ones? (It's not a verb I've ever heard used, but shutters are rare in the UK so that's perhaps not surprising!) In any case - the objection is not to turning nouns into verbs per se, but to doing so when the result sounds ugly and there is already a better alternative. Of course, this is 100% subjective! In any case, as a wise man once said, "Verbing nouns weirds language".
    – psmears
    Jan 13, 2011 at 20:22
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    @dmckee: "to architect" doesn't necessarily have the same meanings as "to design" or "to invent" or any of its other synonyms. It's not clear to me that the word is 100% replaceable with another word. Design, for example, refers to lots of things, but in software "architecture" refers to only some parts of the design and making that architecture is what you do when you architect. So it's not a useless word, IMO, and not necessarily marketspeak or drivel. Jan 14, 2011 at 16:10

Yes it's acceptable, but it is a somewhat fraught word because readers can interpret it two ways. Some readers will see your use as parochial and assume that you are an insider in the building or software industry. Others will take it as satirical and mocking of industry jargon and of pretentious speech in general.

So unless you are writing for an audience that's already settled on their interpretation of the word, use "designed."


I googled it (because Google is a verb now), and saw that "architector" is an obsolete form of architect, which implies that an architector is one who architects. So I think you could make a case for architect as a verb, and feel like you are reviving an ancient word as opposed to following the modern trend toward creating verbs out of nouns.


"I've been a software engineer for about thirty-five years. Maybe it's because my formal training is in mathematics that I've never bought into the silly neologisms and other abuses of language perpetrated by computer scientists.

The only thing that you achieve when you say "I 'architected' that system" is to jar the sensibilities of the normal people who hear you. Anybody who is remotely connected with your real audience understands that there's a difference between designing a system or subsystem and designing a module, and I promise that most people will think that you're cooler if you just say "I designed that system" than they would if you say "I 'architected' that system."

And don't say, "those concerns are 'orthogonal'." They might be independent or uncoupled, but they're not orthogonal.

Even authoritative dictionaries are only descriptivist. They only describe what people are doing -- appearance of a usage in a dictionary is not a legitimization or endorsement of that usage.

  • -1 for trying to purify the language against so called abuses and for not indicating what, other than the very usage you decry, determines "a legitimization or endorsement of that usage." Jun 9, 2017 at 14:02

I would invite anybody using the word “Architect” as a verb to visit the office of an RIBA registered Architectural practice and ask one of the partners if they would be able to “architect a new house”. See how many people in the room don’t either:

  • Look at you quizzically
  • Fall about laughing
  • Announce that “there is a tw@ in reception”
  • Ask you where your carer has got to
  • Send you out for some left-handed paint
  • Punch you in the face

I would like to think it is “all of the above”.

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    Indeed, RIBA and similar bodies were complaining at least twenty five years ago that the word architect had been appropriated by the software industry (so that ads for "architects" were as likely to be for software system architects as for building designers). Unfortunately for them, language does what it does, and nobody can control it.
    – Colin Fine
    Apr 24, 2014 at 16:16
  • It sounds from what you say that the august compilers of the Oxford English Dictionary must prepare to be put in care homes, or to receive punches in the face then - since the OED has an entry for the verb "architect" with examples from 1818.
    – WS2
    Feb 21, 2022 at 23:58

actually the word 'architect' should be used only as a noun.meaning of the word is 'a person whose job is to design buildings'and there are also two words formed by it, first is architectural and second is architecture. architecture:[noun] the study of designing and making buildings, architectural:[adj.] connected with the design of buildings

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    Actually you are wrong in two respects. First, architect was appropriated (as a noun) in the computer sense at least thirty yours ago, and secondly it has, as others have said, been quite widely used as a verb. You are of course entitled not to use it in those extended ways, but you are no more entitled than anybody else to say how it "should" be used.
    – Colin Fine
    Apr 24, 2014 at 16:14

Architect is a noun and defined as such traditionally. It is also illegal in most states for ANYONE to use this in any other industry or refer to themselves as an architect. An architect is legally someone who "is licensed to design buildings". Check your state law before bastardizing this word and assuming to be something you are not.


  • Questions should be answered as an expert would answer them: comprehensively, with explanation and context. Explain why your answer is right, ideally with citations. Unsupported answers may be removed. (more¹) (more²) Also, the question is not about the legality of calling one's self an architect, so part of your answer is not really constructive.
    – MetaEd
    Jun 9, 2017 at 16:25

'Architecting' is perhaps acceptable as slang for 'designing the architecture'. Where 'architecture' is structural design at the highest level in the domain of interest (e.g. buildings, ships, microchips). Increasingly though 'architecting' and 'architected' are being used to mean doing something other than design (e.g. architecting the business), what this thing is, isn't always entirely clear, but people using the word in such contexts are often adamant that they aren't doing design. Consequently one can only conclude that the slang word is often being mis-used by people who don't understand the meaning of 'architecture'.

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