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An archenemy (sometimes spelled arch-enemy) is the principal enemy of someone or something.[1][2][3] In fiction, it is a character who is the hero's or protagonist's most prominent and worst enemy.


The word archenemy or arch-enemy originated around the mid-16th century, from the words arch- (from Greek "arkhos" meaning "most important")[3] and enemy.[1]

An archenemy may also be referred to as archfoe, archvillain, or archnemesis.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "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. ^ a b Wicaksono, Rachel. "BBC World Service | Learning English | Ask about English". BBC. Retrieved 26 June 2008.