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 \ ˈärk-​ti-​k(ə-​)lē , ˈär-​ti-​ How to pronounce arctic (audio) \ adverb

Examples of arctic in a Sentence

Adjective The group is involved in Arctic exploration. the arctic air of deep winter
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Extreme weather such as Category 4 hurricanes and the arctic blast that covered the entire state of Texas last month will continue to put more pressure on the electric grid. Maria Halkias, Dallas News, "H-E-B, known for coming to the rescue with water and hot meals, added electricity to that list," 19 Mar. 2021 Then arctic weather settled into Texas for several days, triggering massive power outages that shut down crude oil refineries and caused gasoline supplies to decline. Ron Hurtibise,, "Gasoline prices rise to nearly 2-year high, and they may get worse," 8 Mar. 2021 Snow squalls moved through portions of Connecticut Monday evening following an arctic front., "Powerful winds impacted state," 2 Mar. 2021 The weather is hitting the auto industry hard as various carmakers must stop production due to arctic temperatures, snow and ice that are making travel dangerous for workers and roads impassible for suppliers to deliver parts. Jamie L. Lareau, Detroit Free Press, "GM stops production at highly profitable pickup plant in Fort Wayne, 3 others," 17 Feb. 2021 On Sunday afternoon, the National Weather Service predicts an arctic front will move into the region, delivering a mix of rain, freezing rain and sleet. Taylor Pettaway, Liz Hardaway, San Antonio Express-News, "'Imminent threat:' San Antonio braces for rain, sleet, snow - and extreme cold," 12 Feb. 2021 In 1899, an arctic outbreak led to subzero temperatures in Tallahassee, Florida. Philip Kiefer, Popular Science, "Explaining this week’s deadly US cold snap," 24 Feb. 2021 For many, especially folks who live in the South, the arctic outbreak that has gripped the nation's heartland for the past week is the kind of cold that only happens once in a century. Jeff Berardelli, CBS News, "Climate change and record cold: What's behind the arctic extremes in Texas," 20 Feb. 2021 Exactly what role climate change played in bringing frigid arctic air to the country's midsection is a matter of scientific debate. Drew Kann, CNN, "Texas' dangerous week in the dark is a wake-up call for the country's infrastructure," 20 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In New Zealand, orcas eat stingrays; in the Norwegian arctic, orcas prefer herring; and in Patagonia, orcas favor sea lion pups. Emilie Richardson, ABC News, "'Secrets of the Whales' is a deep dive into whale culture," 22 Apr. 2021 The one consistent thing about damage from the February arctic blast is its complete inconsistency. Howard Garrett, Dallas News, "How to help an ailing tree recover from winter storm damage," 19 Apr. 2021 There’s no evidence that narwhals have magic horns, but their tusks are playing an important role in helping scientists understand how climate change is impacting the arctic. Sara Tabin, Forbes, "What Can Narwhal Tusks Tell Us About Climate Change? Quite A Lot, Scientists Say," 16 Apr. 2021 The service’s operations are also all over the map — freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea, security operations in the Middle East to the arctic and all points in between. Andrew Dyer, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Coast Guard service chief on hand as cutter unloads 7,500 pounds of seized drugs," 11 Mar. 2021 The arctic is warming nearly 3 times faster than the rest of the planet, destabilizing the jet stream, the river of fast-flowing air that swirls around the North Pole. Star Tribune, "Wind Chill Advisory This Weekend With Frigid Weather Through Next Week," 5 Feb. 2021 There was also a span of record-setting arctic-like days. Alexis Oatman, cleveland, "OH weather: Remember Cleveland’s past polar vortexes," 18 Jan. 2021 Researchers are increasingly turning to nature -- including the fjords of the Norwegian arctic, an ancient medieval natural remedy and the dirt under your feet -- for new bacteria to become antibiotics. Samantha Bresnahan, CNN, "Snake venom is a boon in search for life-saving drugs," 9 Nov. 2020 Models hint at another messy mix on Saturday, but nothing arctic is looming on the horizon. Star Tribune, "A Reality Check This Week As Colder Air Moves Back In (With Snow Too!)," 8 Nov. 2020

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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Time Traveler for arctic

Time Traveler

The first known use of arctic was circa 1540

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Statistics for arctic

Last Updated

12 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Arctic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 May. 2021.

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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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