Last updated

Sherlock Holmes wrestling against archenemy Professor Moriarty. Sherlock Holmes and Professor Moriarty at the Reichenbach Falls.jpg
Sherlock Holmes wrestling against archenemy Professor Moriarty.

In literature, an archenemy (sometimes spelled as arch-enemy) is the main enemy of someone. [1] [2] [3] In fiction, it is a character who is the protagonist's, commonly a hero's, most prominent and most-known enemy.



The word archenemy sometimes spelled as arch-enemy originated around the mid-16th century, from the words arch- [3] (from Greek ἄρχω archo meaning 'to lead') and enemy. [1]

An archenemy may also be referred to as an archrival, [4] archfoe, [5] archvillain, [6] or archnemesis. [7] However, an archenemy may also be distinguished from a nemesis, with the latter being an enemy whom the hero cannot defeat (or who defeats the hero), even while not being a longstanding or consistent enemy to the hero. [8]

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Double entendre</span> Wording that is devised to be understood in two ways

A double entendre is a figure of speech or a particular way of wording that is devised to have a double meaning, of which one is typically obvious, whereas the other often conveys a message that would be too socially awkward, sexually suggestive, or offensive to state directly.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Antihero</span> Leading character in a film, book or play, who is devoid of heroic qualities

An antihero or antiheroine is a main character in a story who may lack conventional heroic qualities and attributes, such as idealism, courage, and morality. Although antiheroes may sometimes perform actions that are morally correct, it is not always for the right reasons, often acting primarily out of self-interest or in ways that defy conventional ethical codes. An antihero typically exhibits one of the "Dark Triad" personality traits, which include narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism.

This is a list of British words not widely used in the United States. In Canada, New Zealand, India, South Africa, and Australia, some of the British terms listed are used, although another usage is often preferred.

This is a list of American words not widely used in the United Kingdom. In Canada and Australia, some of the American terms listed are widespread; however, in some cases, another usage is preferred.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Merriam-Webster</span> American publisher and dictionary

Merriam-Webster, Inc. is an American company that publishes reference books and is especially known for its dictionaries. It is the oldest dictionary publisher in the United States.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">McJob</span> Pejorative work-related slang

"McJob" is a slang term for a low-paying, low-prestige dead-end job that requires few skills and offers very little chance of advancement. The term "McJob" comes from the name of the fast-food restaurant McDonald's, but is used to describe any low-status job – regardless of employer – where little training is required, staff turnover is high, and workers' activities are tightly regulated by managers.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Google (verb)</span> Transitive verb, meaning to search for something using the Google search engine

Owing to the dominance of the Google search engine, to google has become a transitive verb. The neologism commonly refers to searching for information on the World Wide Web using the Google search engine. The American Dialect Society chose it as the "most useful word of 2002". It was added to the Oxford English Dictionary on June 15, 2006, and to the eleventh edition of the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary in July 2006.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Elytron</span> Hardened insect forewing

An elytron is a modified, hardened forewing of beetles (Coleoptera), though a few of the true bugs (Hemiptera) such as the family Schizopteridae are extremely similar; in true bugs, the forewings are called hemelytra, and in most species only the basal half is thickened while the apex is membranous, but when they are entirely thickened the condition is referred to as "coleopteroid". An elytron is sometimes also referred to as a shard.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tchotchke</span>

A tchotchke is a small bric-à-brac or miscellaneous item. The word has long been used by Jewish-Americans and in the regional speech of New York City and elsewhere. It is borrowed from Yiddish and is ultimately Slavic in origin.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">American and British English spelling differences</span> Comparison between US and UK English spelling

Despite the various English dialects spoken from country to country and within different regions of the same country, there are only slight regional variations in English orthography, the two most notable variations being British and American spelling. Many of the differences between American and British English date back to a time before spelling standards were developed. For instance, some spellings seen as "American" today were once commonly used in Britain, and some spellings seen as "British" were once commonly used in the United States.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Hello</span> Salutation or greeting

Hello is a salutation or greeting in the English language. It is first attested in writing from 1826.

A lead paragraph is the opening paragraph of an article, book chapter, or other written work that summarizes its main ideas. Styles vary widely among the different types and genres of publications, from journalistic news-style leads to a more encyclopaedic variety.

In the lineal kinship system used in the English-speaking world, a niece or nephew is a child of the subject's sibling or sibling-in-law. The converse relationship, the relationship from the niece or nephew's perspective, is that of an aunt or uncle. A niece is female and a nephew is male. The term nibling has been used in place of the common, gender-specific terms in some specialist literature.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Curriculum vitae</span> Summary of career

In English, a curriculum vitae is a short written summary of a person's career, qualifications, and education. This is the most common usage in both North American and British English. In North America, the term résumé is a common synonym for CV in the sense of a short career summary.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Alumni</span> Graduate of a school

Alumni are former students of a school, college, or university who have either attended or graduated in some fashion from the institution. The feminine plural alumnae is sometimes used for groups of women. The word is Latin and means "one who is being nourished". The term is not synonymous with "graduate"; one can be an alumnus without graduating. The term is sometimes used to refer to a former employee or member of an organization, contributor, or inmate.

Commonly misspelled English words are words that are often unintentionally misspelled in general writing. A selected list of common words is presented below, under Documented list of common misspellings. Although the word common is subjective depending on the situation, the focus is on general writing, rather than in a specific field. Accepted spellings also vary by country or region, with some rejecting the American or British variants as incorrect for the region.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Names of the Romani people</span> Etymology of terms for interrelated nomadic European ethnic minority

The Romani people are also known by a variety of other names; in English as gypsies or gipsies, and Roma; in Greek as γύφτοι (gíftoi) or τσιγγάνοι (tsiggánoi), in Central and Eastern Europe as Tsingani ; in France as gitans besides the dated terms bohémiens and manouches; in Italy as rom and sinti besides the dated terms zingari, zigani, and gitani; in Spain as gitanos; and in Portugal as ciganos.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Rivalry</span> Competitive situation

A rivalry is the state of two people or groups engaging in a lasting competitive relationship. Rivalry is the "against each other" spirit between two competing sides. The relationship itself may also be called "a rivalry", and each participant or side a rival to the other. Someone's main rival may be called an archrival. A rivalry can be defined as "a perceptual categorizing process in which actors identify which states are sufficiently threatening competitors". In order for the rivalry to persist, rather than resulting in perpetual dominance by one side, it must be "a competitive relationship among equals". Political scientist John A. Vasquez has asserted that equality of power is a necessary component for a true rivalry to exist, but others have disputed that element.


  1. 1 2 "archenemy definition". Archived from the original on 5 October 2008. Retrieved 7 September 2008.
  2. "archenemy – Definition from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary". Merriam-Webster . Retrieved 26 June 2008.
  3. 1 2 Wicaksono, Rachel. "BBC World Service | Learning English | Ask about English". BBC. Retrieved 26 June 2008.
  4. "Definition of ARCHRIVAL". Retrieved 11 October 2019.
  5. "Definition of ARCHFOE".
  6. "Definition of ARCHVILLAIN". Retrieved 11 October 2019.
  7. "Definition of ARCHNEMESIS".
  8. Sage Michael, How to Become a Superhero: the Ultimate Guide to the Ultimate You! (2011), p. 228.