Definition of Arctic in US English:



  • 1Relating to the regions around the North Pole.

    ‘an Arctic explorer’
    • ‘The cold, salty Arctic waters are denser than the Gulf Stream, however, and they sink rapidly below the still very strong eastbound current.’
    • ‘In previous centuries, when Arctic explorers looking for the Northwest Passage got mired in ice, they had very few options.’
    • ‘The high mountain ridges protect the Fergana Valley and other lowlands from Arctic air masses, but temperatures drop below freezing more than one-hundred days a year.’
    • ‘Most of the passage had already been charted and the British Admiralty expected that Franklin, a veteran Arctic explorer, would handily chart the rest.’
    • ‘Thick-billed Murres are highly colonial, cliff-breeding seabirds of Arctic waters.’
    • ‘Some 40,000 years before, their remote ancestors had crossed the then land bridge across what is now the Bering Straits and gradually migrated by land and water eastwards along the Arctic coast.’
    • ‘In 1850 the British Arctic explorer Robert McClure completed a west-east crossing, but the first continuous voyage remained unachieved.’
    • ‘Above 85 degrees north, you don't have tropical rainforest, you have Arctic ice fields.’
    • ‘Studying this region will help researchers understand how much and in what ways Arctic glaciers and ice caps are contributing to sea level rise.’
    • ‘While at Berton House, McGoogan completed a first draft of a biographical study on the life of Samuel Hearne, an Arctic explorer whose career began when he was just a lad.’
    • ‘He plans to cross into Siberia, using the frozen Arctic waters of the Chukchi Sea as his route.’
    • ‘These birds come from as far as Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, the Arctic region, Siberia and Mongolia.’
    • ‘Measurements from below the ice are only possible at the North Pole as the Arctic ice cap sits on the sea, unlike the Antarctic, which is a land mass.’
    • ‘The outbreaks of polar air to middle latitudes are normally balanced by intrusions of mild maritime air from middle latitudes into the Arctic and polar regions.’
    • ‘Polar scientists have recruited an unlikely pair to aid their exploration of freezing Arctic waters: two wild white whales.’
    • ‘Protected by the Alaskan peninsula from cold Arctic waters, the temperature of the ocean off of the Pacific coast varies remarkably little, both across the ecozone at any one time and over the year.’
    • ‘Dr. Lawver's research areas include the tectonics of the Arctic / Antarctic polar regions.’
    • ‘They hoped to regulate the flow of water between the Arctic and Pacific Oceans, and thereby warm the frozen Russian north.’
    • ‘He was so moved by the beauty and vulnerability of the Antarctic and the Arctic regions that he made a commitment to help preserve these great wilderness area.’
    • ‘A Downton builder is preparing to trek across the snowy Arctic wastes to the North Pole, for the sake of his sick granddaughter.’
    1. 1.1 (of animals or plants) living or growing in the regions around the North Pole.
      • ‘They made bright designs for their squares, which depicted the earth as well as Arctic animals and scenes.’
      • ‘A key for the identification of 112 Arctic plant species is presented here.’
      • ‘The plants include Arctic varieties, alpines, orchids and rarities such as gentians and bloody cranesbills.’
      • ‘Led by a Connecticut dentist, a research team says it has unraveled some of the mysteries surrounding the spiral horn grown by the small Arctic whale known as the narwhal.’
      • ‘Such changes directly impact the region's polar bears, since the Arctic predators hunt seals on the winter sea ice and must fast on land during the summer melt.’
      • ‘Similarly, the petroleum reserve is home to a spate of declining species, including polar bears, Arctic wolves and foxes, and musk ox.’
      • ‘Other studies also have concluded that tissue allocation hypothesis does not adequately explain control of growth of Arctic geese.’
      • ‘The hares' main predators are gyr falcons, Arctic foxes and Arctic wolves.’
      • ‘It was an Arctic wolf, with greyish-white fur and yellow eyes.’
      • ‘Also known as golden or Arctic root, it grows in the Arctic regions of eastern Siberia.’
      • ‘But the splendid Arctic goose is popular in waterfowl collections.’
      • ‘How fast do Arctic fishes grow, and at what age/size do they mature?’
      • ‘Massachusetts is the southernmost part of their breeding range, since they are truly Arctic birds.’
      • ‘We think that the specialised high Arctic plants may, in some few places, move up the mountains.’
      • ‘Glaciers cover much of the wild interior; the rolling tundra glows with delicate Arctic flowers.’
      • ‘Still, I wonder if some readers think that the supposed Arctic carnivore Tyrannosaurus helcaraxae, for instance, is already known to science?’
      • ‘Other selection pressures also may contribute and further modify growth rates or developmental patterns of some species of Arctic geese.’
      • ‘Census of Marine Life explorers were surprised by the diversity and density of Arctic creatures’
      • ‘But in other large Arctic animals, such as polar bears and seals, these toxins are known to cause serious health problems.’
      • ‘Northern fulmars are a keystone Arctic species, providing vital nutrients to an otherwise desolate landscape.’
  • 2informal (of weather conditions) very cold.

    • ‘The arctic weather was suddenly forgotten as the team provided three more superb goals and delivered a crushing defeat to a stunned Northampton side.’
    • ‘But I do love the winter - most especially the sort of hard, arctic winters of the upper reaches of North America.’
    • ‘But the arctic conditions we have just experienced are nothing compared to some of the truly awful winters endured by people in the last century.’
    • ‘But nothing, she shudders, to compare with the arctic conditions on offer in Abroath in February.’
    • ‘The couple remained hidden from a crowd of fans who braved arctic conditions on Saturday afternoon to catch a glimpse of their idols.’
    • ‘The warmth seemed to hit them, a welcome relief from the arctic conditions that they had endured on their short walk from the hotel.’
    • ‘I know the UK isn't meant to have the best climate under the sun, but we're not meant to match the arctic conditions of the Russian tundra.’
    • ‘Unfortunately because of the arctic weather conditions the match had to be called off at half-time.’
    • ‘Nearly 3,000 pupils were given the day off on Friday after arctic conditions forced some west Wiltshire schools to close.’
    • ‘Much of Essex ground to a slithering halt today as arctic conditions brought chaos to roads.’
    • ‘SIR - I would like to put on record what a fantastic job Bradford Council have done in keeping the roads of Bradford open during the recent arctic weather.’
    • ‘She liked to be alone and quiet, watching TV, with the heater at maximum temperature in contrast with the arctic weather outside.’
    • ‘Prone to sudden vicious weather and arctic conditions, Mt. McKinley is a serious mountaineering undertaking even on its easier routes.’
    • ‘The arctic conditions that swept across the country left the streets treacherous, especially my home street.’
    • ‘Both teams deserved medals for turning out in the extreme arctic conditions on the day.’
    • ‘The match kicked off in arctic conditions and the weather steadily got worse.’
    • ‘They have heating too, which is an unexpected bonus given the arctic conditions inside the building.’
    • ‘When the rest of the country is struggling through blinding blizzards and arctic temperatures, its proximity to the Pacific keeps Vancouver relatively mild.’
    • ‘Snow and ice brought East Lancashire's road to a standstill as drivers battled arctic conditions to get home.’
    • ‘Men and women braved the arctic weather conditions and set off on the long trail.’
    cold, bitterly cold, intensely cold, frosty, wintry
    View synonyms


  • 1the ArcticThe regions around the North Pole.

  • 2North American Thick waterproof overshoes extending to the ankle or above.

    • ‘Out of the saloon he went and met Sylvester West the druggist stumbling along in the kind of heavy overshoes called arctics.’
    • ‘In the upper U.S. Midwest, school children know the black rubber, over-the-shoe boot as "four-buckle arctics".’
    • ‘In fact, the Arctics have kept my feet warmer than plastic double boots under similar conditions.’
    the far north, the north pole, the arctic circle
    View synonyms
  • 3A drab-colored hairy butterfly of the arctic and subarctic regions of the New World.

    Genus Oenis, subfamily Satyrinae, family Nymphalidae


Late Middle English: via Old French from Latin arcticus, articus, from Greek arktikos, from arktos ‘bear, Ursa Major, pole star’.