The name Arcueil was recorded for the first time in 1119 as Arcoloï, and later in the 12th century as Arcoïalum, meaning "place of the arches" (Latin radical arcus, "arch", and Celtic suffix -ialo, "clearing, glade", "place of"), in reference to the Roman aqueduct carrying water to the Roman city of Lutetia (modern Paris). Still standing, the arches of the Roman aqueduct are still visible since the Middle Ages, crossing the Bièvre River valley near Arcueil.
The commune of Arcueil was officially renamed Arcueil-Cachan in 1894, after the hamlet of Cachan located within the commune. On 26 December 1922, Cachan seceded from the commune of Arcueil-Cachan and became a commune in its own right. The reduced commune of Arcueil-Cachan was renamed simply Arcueil.