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[ahrk-too r-uh s, -tyoo r-] /ɑrkˈtʊər əs, -ˈtyʊər-/
noun, Astronomy.
a first-magnitude star in the constellation Boötes.
Origin of Arcturus
1352-75; < Latin < Greek Arktoûros, equivalent to árkt(os) bear + -oûros keeper; replacing Middle English arture < Middle French
Related forms
Arcturian, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for Arcturus
Historical Examples
  • Opposite there is another star, coloured, between the knees of the Bear Warden, dedicated there under the name of Arcturus.

  • Been computing the orbit of the wreckage of the Arcturus around Jupiter.

    Spacehounds of IPC Edward Elmer Smith
  • Its leading star α, Arcturus, is the brightest in the northern hemisphere.

    Pleasures of the telescope Garrett Serviss
  • Arcturus was a roving beast of the plains; he went in droves in his day.

    The Secret of the Creation Howard D. Pollyen
  • It was a long way to Arcturus, a long, lonely way—even for a hardened pirate, he reflected sadly.

    Membership Drive Murray F. Yaco
  • Altair and Arcturus: prominent stars in the northern hemisphere.

    The Spring of the Year Dallas Lore Sharp
  • Latitude by Centauri and Arcturus 15 degrees 18 minutes 33 seconds.

  • Arcturus, α Botis, in the sign Libra; conspicuous in the nights of spring.

  • With Astro down and Tom out of position, the Arcturus unit seemed certain of scoring.

    Stand by for Mars! Carey Rockwell
  • Arcturus is also one of the most rapidly moving stars in the heavens.

    Astronomy for Young Folks Isabel Martin Lewis
British Dictionary definitions for Arcturus


the brightest star in the constellation Boötes: a red giant. Visual magnitude: –0.4; spectral type: K2III; distance: 37 light years
Derived Forms
Arcturian, adjective
Word Origin
C14: from Latin, from Greek Arktouros, from arktos bear + ouros guard, keeper
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 Arcturus

late 14c., bright star in the constellation Bootes (also used of the whole constellation), from Latin Arcturus, from Greek Arktouros; anciently associated with the Bear, and its name is Greek for "guardian of the bear." See arctic; second element is from ouros "watcher, guardian, ward" (see warrant (n.)).

Arcturus in the Bible (Job ix:9 and xxxviii:32) is a mistranslation by Jerome (continued in KJV) of Hebrew 'Ayish, which actually refers to the "bowl" of the Big Dipper. In Israel and Arabia, the seven stars of the Great Bear seem to have been a bier (the "bowl") followed by three mourners. In the Septuagint it was translated as Pleiada, which is equally incorrect. The double nature of the great bear/wagon (see Big Dipper) has given two different names to the constellation that follows it: Arktouros "bear-ward" and bootes "the wagoner."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Arcturus in Science
A giant star in the constellation Boötes. It is the brightest star in the Northern Hemisphere and the fourth brightest star in the sky, with an apparent magnitude of 0.00. Scientific name: Alpha Boötes.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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