1. A chest, or coffer. Bearing that precious relic in an ark. (Spenser)
2. The oblong chest of acacia wood, overlaid with gold, which supported the mercy seat with its golden cherubs, and occupied the most sacred place in the sanctuary. In it Moses placed the two tables of stone containing the ten commandments. Called also the ark of the Covenant.
3. The large, chestlike vessel in which noah and his family were preserved during the deluge. Hence: Any place of refuge.
4. A large flatboat used on western American rivers to transport produce to market.
Origin: oe. Ark, arke, arche, as. Arc, earc, earce, fr. L. Arca, fr. Arcere to inclose, keep off; akin to gr. To keep off.