arc·​tic | \ ˈärk-tik How to pronounce arctic (audio) , ˈär-tik How to pronounce arctic (audio) \

Definition of arctic

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 often capitalized : of, relating to, or suitable for use at the north pole or the region near it arctic waters arctic animals arctic clothing
2a : bitter cold : frigid arctic air
b : cold in temper or mood an arctic smile


arc·​tic | \ ˈär-tik How to pronounce arctic (audio) , ˈärk-tik How to pronounce arctic (audio) \

Definition of arctic (Entry 2 of 2)

: a rubber overshoe reaching to the ankle or above

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Other Words from arctic


arctically \ -​ti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce arctically (audio) \ adverb

Examples of arctic in a Sentence


The group is involved in Arctic exploration. the arctic air of deep winter

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Life in Kotzebue came to a standstill last fall when a 10-year-old girl vanished from a playground in the center of this northwest arctic town. Kyle Hopkins, ProPublica, "Why We’re Investigating Sexual Violence in Alaska," 16 May 2019 Now there’s evidence that women have had good reason all along to complain about arctic office air. Kara Alaimo, Twin Cities, "Kara Alaimo: The great corporate female freeze-out," 4 June 2019 As many people bundle up in near-arctic temperatures around the country, Kendall Jenner is celebrating the holiday season by hitting the Malibu beaches wearing actual lingerie. Avery Matera, Teen Vogue, "Kendall Jenner Wore Lingerie on the Beach and It Was Genius," 19 Dec. 2018 Most simply, reduced sea ice and warmer arctic temperatures lead to a weakening of the polar vortex -- the real one in the stratosphere, not the catchy name that has been applied to cold air outbreaks in recent years. Brandon Miller, CNN, "As the Arctic warms, nor'easters may get worse," 13 Mar. 2018 On a recent morning, arctic temperatures were keeping all but a few ardent cyclists off Kent Avenue, but the Lebons’ apartment was bathed in warm sunlight. Kim Velsey, New York Times, "The Noisy Charms of New York," 8 Jan. 2018 Could the arctic temperatures and Alabama playing in the College Football Playoff National Championship game on Monday lead to a baby boom in the Heart of Dixie this fall? Erin Edgemon,, "Could cold weather, National Championship game cause a baby boom this fall?," 7 Jan. 2018 This allows fluids that have thickened because of the arctic temperatures to reach proper viscosity. Luz Lazo, Washington Post, "Bitter cold bites Washington — and takes toll on drivers and their car batteries," 3 Jan. 2018 Her extra-long bleach blonde mermaid waves (similar to big sister, Kim Kardashian's), looked spring-time ready despite the record-breaking arctic weather in the Midwest. Nicole Saunders, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Internet Collectively Called Out Khloé Kardashian's Major Photoshop Fail," 1 Feb. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In 2016, because of the decreased Caribou herd population, hunters living outside the Northwest arctic were banned from hunting Caribou on federal lands. Maka Monture, Teen Vogue, "The Arctic Youth Ambassadors Program Is Bringing Awareness to Environmental and Community Issues in Alaska," 24 Sep. 2018 But say a warming arctic is responsible for wacky winter weather in the United States. Matt Simon, WIRED, "The Controversial Link Between Epic Storms and a Warming Arctic," 13 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'arctic.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of arctic


circa 1540, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1868, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for arctic


Middle English artik, from Latin arcticus, from Greek arktikos, from arktos bear, Ursa Major, north; akin to Latin ursus bear, Sanskrit ṛkṣa

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Statistics for arctic

Last Updated

27 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for arctic

The first known use of arctic was circa 1540

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More Definitions for arctic



English Language Learners Definition of arctic

: of or relating to the North Pole or the region around it
: very cold


arc·​tic | \ ˈärk-tik How to pronounce arctic (audio) , ˈär-tik\

Kids Definition of arctic

1 often capitalized : of or relating to the north pole or to the region around it arctic explorers
2 : very cold arctic temperatures

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More from Merriam-Webster on arctic

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with arctic

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for arctic

Spanish Central: Translation of arctic

Nglish: Translation of arctic for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of arctic for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about arctic

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