Weather Talk: Arctic means Bear
When the word, "arctic," is used in a forecast to describe cold weather coming, we all know what to expect. But have you ever wondered where the word, "arctic," comes from?
It turns out to be from the Latin arcticus which comes from the Greek arkticus which means "of the north." But arkticus means north because it is a reference to the Great Bear constellation, which we know today as the Big Dipper.
The Big Dipper (Ursa Major, which translates to Big Bear) is the most recognized constellation in the Northern Hemisphere, and so the Arctic is the region of the Big Bear. It is also, coincidentally, the region of the polar bear.
The opposite region of Earth is called Antarctica because it is opposite the Arctic. Of equal coincidence is the fact that no bears exist in Antarctica. It is the region not of the Big Bear, and also a region without any big bears.