Definition: Arctic

From New World Encyclopedia


From Arctic Ancient Greek ἀρκτικός (arktikos) "of the bear, northern," a reference to the northerly constellation Ursa Major from ἄρκτος (arktos) "bear."


  • /ˈɑːktɪk/
  • /ˈɑɹktɪk/

Like Antarctic, the English word was originally pronounced without /k/, but the spelling pronunciation has become the more common one. The "c" was originally added to the spelling for etymological reasons, and its pronunciation followed thereafter.


Arctic (not comparable)

  1. Being extremely cold, snowy, or having other properties of extreme winter associated with the Arctic.
    The food was kept very fresh by the arctic temperature setting of the freezer.

Proper noun


  1. (obsolete) The north celestial pole. [fifteenth–seventeenth centuries]
  2. (geography) The region of the Earth above the Arctic Circle, containing the North Pole. [from seventeenth century]

Derived terms


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