Quick Summary

The Greek root arch means “rule.” This Greek root is the word origin of a fair number of English vocabulary words, including matriarch, patriarch, and oligarchy. The root arch is easily recalled via the word anarchy, which is a period of time in which there is no “rule” at all in a country.

"Rule" the Root "Arch"

The Greek root arch means “rule.” By listening to this podcast you can become the intellectual monarch of arch, “ruling” over each and every word that uses this root.

An archon was an upper-level magistrate or “ruler” in ancient Greece, and today can refer to any type of “ruler.” There are many types of government “rule.” A monarch is a single “ruler” such as a queen or king, a system of government referred to as a monarchy. An oligarchy, on the other hand, is a “rule” by a few powerful and influential people, entitled oligarchs. Matriarchs and patriarchs can lead smaller familial clans or communities, the former a rule by an older and powerful female (a matriarchy), the latter by a similar type of male (a patriarchy). If a nation or community is under the throes of anarchy, it means that there is not a “ruler” at all, but rather a state of lawlessness. An anarchist is one who supports no “rule” of law governing a people.

The word hierarchy originally referred to a state of “rule” by the holy, that is, the order of power that was held by different types of angels; in due course it began to refer to levels of power in the church, and then moved on to secular organizations.

An archive is a carefully guarded set of important historical records, a word which was formed from the core idea that governments or “rulers” tend to keep historical records. I hope that you have now added this podcast to your personal roots archive, enabling you to “rule” over those words with the Greek root arch in them!

  1. archon: “ruler”
  2. monarch: a single “ruler,” such as a king or queen
  3. monarchy: a type of government “ruled” by a queen or king
  4. oligarchy: “rule” by a small group of powerful people
  5. oligarch: a member of an oligarchy
  6. matriarch: female “ruler” over a clan or small community
  7. matriarchy: system of “rule” whereby a powerful female is the head of a clan or small community
  8. patriarch: male “ruler” over a clan or small community
  9. patriarchy: system of “rule” whereby a powerful male is the head of a clan or small community
  10. anarchy: a system where there is no “rule”
  11. anarchist: one who believes in having no centralized “rule” by a government
  12. hierarchy: levels of “rule” within an organization of some kind
  13. archive: historical documents traditionally kept by “rulers” of a government


  • anarchy

    A state of anarchy occurs when there is no organization or order in a nation or country, especially when no effective government exists.

  • arch

    To be arch is to be full of mischief, sneakiness, or playful cunning.

  • hierarchy

    A hierarchy is a system of organization in a society, company, or other group in which people are divided into different ranks or levels of importance.

  • patriarch

    A patriarch is a male leader of a family or tribe; a patriarch can also be a man who is the founder of a group or organization.

  • matriarch

    A matriarch is an older and powerful woman who controls a family, community, or other social group.

  • oligarchy

    An oligarchy is a government that is run by a small group of highly influential and powerful people.

Differentiated vocabulary for your students is just a click away.