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Ant·arc·ti·ca (ănt-ärktĭ-kə, -ärtĭ-)
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A continent lying chiefly within the Antarctic Circle and asymmetrically centered on the South Pole. Some 95 percent of Antarctica is covered by an icecap averaging 1.6 km (1 mi) in thickness. The region was first explored in the early 1800s, and although there are no permanent settlements, many countries have made territorial claims. The Antarctic Treaty of 1959, signed by 12 nations, prohibited military operations on the continent and provided for the interchange of scientific data.

Ant·arctic adj. & n.

Usage Note: When pronounced carefully, Antarctica has two (t) sounds and two (k) sounds. In our 2005 survey, over three-fourths of the Usage Panel stated that the pronunciation in which the (t) sound is dropped from the first syllable is incorrect. A similar percentage disapproved of dropping the first (k) sound. Nevertheless, the consonant clusters in many English words (among them handkerchief and raspberry) have been simplified, so it should not be surprising that Antarctica should undergo a similar simplification, at least when pronounced in a conversational tempo.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices

    Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:

    Indo-European Roots

    Semitic Roots

    The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.

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