Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to: navigation, search
See also: arctic


Wikipedia has an article on:

Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle French artique (with -c- reintroduced after Latin in the 17th century), from Latin arcticus, from Ancient Greek ἀρκτικός(arktikós, northern, of the (Great) Bear), from ἄρκτος(árktos, bear, Ursa Major).


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈɑːktɪk/, /ˈɑːtɪk/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈɑɹktɪk/, /ˈɑɹdɪk/
  • (file)


Arctic (not comparable)

  1. (astronomy, now only in compounds) Pertaining to the celestial north pole, or to the pole star. [from 14th c.]
  2. (geography) Pertaining to the northern polar region of the planet, characterised by extreme cold and an icy landscape. [from 16th c.]
  3. Extremely cold, snowy, or having other properties of extreme winter associated with the Arctic. [from 16th c.]
    • 1979, John Le Carré, Smiley's People, Folio Society 2010, p. 45:
      ‘Could you close that window, please!’ Strickland called, dialling again. ‘It's bloody arctic down this end.’
  4. Designed for use in very cold conditions. [from 19th c.]


Proper noun[edit]


  1. (obsolete) The north celestial pole. [15th-17th c.]
  2. (geography) The region of the Earth above the Arctic Circle, containing the North Pole. [from 17th c.]


Derived terms[edit]


Arctic (plural Arctics)

  1. (US, now chiefly historical) A warm waterproof overshoe. [from 19th c.]
  2. Any of various butterflies of the genus Oeneis. [from 20th c.]

Usage notes[edit]

  • Like Antarctic, this 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 returned thereafter.