Etymology of the word ‘Arctic’
Arctic (adj.) late 14c., artik, from O.Fr. artique, from M.L. articus, from L. arcticus, from Gk. arktikos “of the north,” lit. “of the (constellation) Bear,” from arktos “bear; Ursa Major; the region of the north,” the Bear being a northerly constellation. From *rkto-, the usual I.E. base for “bear” (cf. Avestan aresho, Armenian arj, Albanian ari, L. 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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