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[ahrk-tik or especially for 7, ahr-tik] /ˈɑrk tɪk or especially for 7, ˈɑr tɪk/
(often initial capital letter) of, relating to, or located at or near the North Pole:
the arctic region.
coming from the North Pole or the arctic region:
an arctic wind.
characteristic of the extremely cold, snowy, windy weather north of the Arctic Circle; frigid; bleak:
an arctic winter.
suitable for use in the arctic:
arctic boots.
extremely cold in manner, atmosphere, etc.:
a look of arctic disdain.
(often initial capital letter) the region lying north of the Arctic Circle or of the northernmost limit of tree growth; the polar area north of the timber line.
arctics, warm, waterproof overshoes.
Origin of arctic
1350-1400; < Latin arcticus < Greek arktikós northern, literally, of the Bear, equivalent to árkt(os) bear (see Ursa Major) + -ikos -ic; replacing Middle English artik < Middle French artique < Latin
Related forms
arctically, adverb
superarctic, adjective
Can be confused
antarctic, arctic. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for arctic
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • That is why we feel that expensive arctic feasts would probably be a frost.

    Alarms and Discursions G. K. Chesterton
  • You have them say that things are hot in the pan and you have to have drinks with names like arctic and all like that.

    Pee-wee Harris Percy Keese Fitzhugh
  • These seal-creatures, strange seed of the arctic ice, had trapped the Peary all too well.

    Under Arctic Ice H.G. Winter
  • It was about arctic exploration and an expedition he had joined in search of Franklin.

  • But what temperature has been reached above the arctic Circle?

British Dictionary definitions for arctic


of or relating to the Arctic: arctic temperatures
(informal) cold; freezing: the weather at Christmas was arctic
(US) a high waterproof overshoe with buckles
(modifier) designed or suitable for conditions of extreme cold: arctic clothing
Word Origin
C14: from Latin arcticus, from Greek arktikos northern, literally: pertaining to (the constellation of) the Bear, from arktos bear


the Arctic, Arctic Zone, the regions north of the Arctic Circle
of or relating to the regions north of the Arctic Circle
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for arctic



late 14c., artik, from Old French artique, from Medieval Latin articus, from Latin arcticus, from Greek arktikos "of the north," literally "of the (constellation) Bear," from arktos "bear; Ursa Major; the region of the north," the Bear being a northerly constellation. From *rkto-, the usual Indo-European base for "bear" (cf. Avestan aresho, Armenian arj, Albanian ari, Latin ursus, Welsh arth); see bear (n.) for why the name changed in Germanic. The -c- was restored from 1550s. As a noun, "the Arctic regions," from 1560s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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arctic in Culture

Arctic definition

Region in the northernmost area of the Earth, centered on the North Pole.

Note: The weather of the Arctic is characterized by long, cold winters and short, cool summers.
Note: The Arctic has been the object of much exploration by air, land, and sea. The shortest distance by plane between continents in the Northern Hemisphere is often over the Arctic.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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