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late 14c., antartyk "opposite to the north pole" (adj.), also (with capital A) "region around the South pole" (n.), from Old French antartique, from Medieval Latin antarcticus, from Greek antarktikos "opposite the north," from anti- "opposite" (see anti-) + arktikos "arctic" (see arctic). The first -c- sound ceased to be pronounced in Medieval Latin and was dropped in Old French. Modern English spelling, which restores it, dates from 17c.