excruciatingly arch

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New Member
Just found this forum and this is my first post.

Could someone please tell what the phrase excruciatingly arch means in the following context: Even the most convinced Juno lovers tend to agree that the movie's first quarter is excruciatingly arch. This is from slate.com.

Thanks in advance.
  • Matching Mole

    Senior Member
    England, English
    I agree that this might be teased out from a dictionary, but then again, "Arch" is a little bit difficult to define; the OED says "self-consciously playful or teasing" and M-W gives us "marked by a deliberate and often forced playfulness, irony, or impudence". See what I mean? It might also be described as a rather cruel, arrogant and condescending form of, usually ironic, humour or wit.

    Excruciating simply means extremely painful or uncomfortable: in the sense of embarrassed mental anguish, here I think. Sometimes referred to as "toe-curling".
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