• synonyms


[ahrk-tik or especially for 7, ahr-tik]
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  1. (often initial capital letter) of, relating to, or located at or near the North Pole: the arctic region.
  2. coming from the North Pole or the arctic region: an arctic wind.
  3. characteristic of the extremely cold, snowy, windy weather north of the Arctic Circle; frigid; bleak: an arctic winter.
  4. suitable for use in the arctic: arctic boots.
  5. extremely cold in manner, atmosphere, etc.: a look of arctic disdain.
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  1. (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.
  2. arctics, warm, waterproof overshoes.
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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 formsarc·ti·cal·ly, adverbsu·per·arc·tic, adjective
Can be confusedantarctic arctic
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for arctic

chilly, chill, freezing, cool, frigid, frosty, frozen, gelid, glacial, icy, nippy, polar

Examples from the Web for arctic

Contemporary Examples of arctic

Historical Examples of arctic

  • 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


  1. of or relating to the Arcticarctic temperatures
  2. informal cold; freezingthe weather at Christmas was arctic
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  1. US a high waterproof overshoe with buckles
  2. (modifier) designed or suitable for conditions of extreme coldarctic clothing
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Word Origin for arctic

C14: from Latin arcticus, from Greek arktikos northern, literally: pertaining to (the constellation of) the Bear, from arktos bear


  1. the Arctic or Arctic Zone the regions north of the Arctic Circle
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  1. of or relating to the regions north of the Arctic Circle
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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

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

arctic in Culture


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

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The weather of the Arctic is characterized by long, cold winters and short, cool summers.


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 Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.