often cap: of or relating to the north pole or to the region around it <arctic explorers>
: very cold <arctic temperatures>
Word History of ARCTIC
The Big Dipper is a group of stars in the northern sky. It looks like a dipper to us, but ancient people thought it looked like a large bear. The ancient Greeks gave it a name that meant “bear.” The English word arctic came from the Greek name for the Big Dipper. Because when we look at the Big Dipper we are looking toward the north, the word arctic refers to the region around the north pole.