The first “c” in the word arctic is not silent. The word is pronounced ahrk-tik, not ahrt-tik. When it’s being used to refer to the Arctic region, such as Santa Claus lives at the North Pole, which is in the Arctic, the a is capitalized.
Is it pronounced Artic or Arctic?
The spelling “artic” arises because it’s the phonetic spelling of the way most people would prefer to pronounce “arctic.” The reality is that the word “arctic” has two sounds, or phonemes, in the middle of the word that make it tricky to say.
How do you pronounce Arctic?
Do you pronounce the first C in Antarctica?
The words Arctic, Antarctic and Antarctica were originally pronounced without the first /k/, but the spelling pronunciation has become very common. The first “c” was originally added to the spelling for etymological reasons and was then misunderstood as not being silent.
David Nilsen is the former editor of Fourth & Sycamore. He is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. You can find more of his writing on his website at davidnilsenwriter.com and follow him on Twitter as @NilsenDavid.